Search the site

News categories

News archives

RSS feeds

Articles on Futures

Most leaders love to make strategy, but it is vision and values that spawn strategic action

Robert Knowling 2000

The End of Progress” is the title of an extract from the book, “Leading the Revolution” by Gary Hamel published in Business Strategy Review 11 (3), 69-78 (2000). In the book Hamel asserts that the age of progress is over. Throughout the last century, progress was not simply honored, it was worshiped. The unshakable belief was that life spans would increase, material comforts multiply, knowledge grow, the discipline of reason and deductive routines of science would be applied to every problem” Now there is a gnawing sense that while humankind continues to improve its means, it does not always improve its purposes. World wars, terrorism, environmental destruction, megacities”. “No wonder “Dilbert’s Management Principles” is the best-selling business book of all time. Humor cloaks anxiety and gives voice to cynicism.” Hamel recalls that in “Competing for the Future” he and CK Prahalad took companies to task for focusing exclusively on cutting capital, headcount and investment, describing it as corporate anorexia, or “denominator management”. Today the issue is linear innovation versus nonlinear innovation, taking a big chunk out of costs to improve productivity, looking at the entire business rather than a single product or service. The competition is between different business concepts, not different products or services. perugia3.jpg
Perugia streetscape, Umbria (More)

In “Innovating Our Way to the Next Industrial Revolution”, Peter M Senge of MIT’s Sloan Management School and Goran Carstedt, previously a senior executive of Volvo and Ikea, assert that much of what is being said about the New Economy is not all that new. At one point, they say, “The challenge today is to develop sustainable businesses that are compatiable with the current economic reality. Innovative business models and products must work financially, or it won’t matter how good they are ecologically and socially”. At another, “Waves of discontinuous technological change have occurred before in the industrial age, sparked by innovations such as the steam engine in the eighteenth century “[through] synthetic fibers and television in the first half of the 20th century” Far from signalling the end of the industrial era, these waves of disruptive technologies accelerated and extended it. …”

They conclude, “the next industrial revolution, if it is to happen, will have no grand plan and no-one in charge. It will advance on the basis of “an outpouring of human creativity”, innovations not just in technological but in the human landscape as well – the only way a new story can arise.”