As promised, I asked Ron what he thought about A Better Place, a company that I'm very struck with that has the potential to transform our relationship with energy. Turns out he'd given them a lot of thought already - here's what he said:
To date, the electric car has been a poster child for ecosystem mismanagement. We’ve seen a lot of great innovation in the individual pieces: improved batteries, cars, charge spot deployments, etc. But what has been desperately lacking is a strategy for pulling them together on terms that make sense to mainstream buyers.
Better Place breaks the mold in this regard. They are doing something so interesting that I dedicated an entire chapter (chapter 7) of my book, The Wide Lens (www.TheWideLensBook.com) to exploring their strategy.
The power of the Better Place model is that that they are not trying to innovate the electric car, but rather to innovate the ecosystem around the car.
Two broad elements stand out. First is the way in which they have completely reconfigured the e-car ecosystem to overcome the six key problems that undermine the traditional approach to the electric car in the mass market. (see http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-23/news/31227987_1_electric-cars-blind-spot-nissan-leaf) By applying what is essentially a mobile telephone operator model to the context of automobiles, selling multi year contracts based on Note, however, that this entails controlling the urge to grow – first achieving commercial success in the early markets, and only then moving forward to pursue the bigger fish. That takes a lot of discipline.
In the language of ecosystems, Israel and Denmark offer Better Place the opportunity to establish their minimum viable footprint. And from this position, they can leverage ecosystem carryover to accelerate their success in adjacent markets.
Their success is not guaranteed. But they have a better shot than any other player on the field.
- Posted Rita McGrath on April 03, 2012
Gokce Sargut and I are working together on the fascinating subject of how organizations can sensibly and strategically cope with the demands of complex situations. One of the papers from our ongoing research project is out in this months' Harvard Business Review. We offer a perspective on why complexity is so hard to deal with (because it has interactive qualities that make outcomes unpredictable) and offer some suggestions on how you might want to manage differently if you are facing a complex situation.
I will be doing a webinar on this topic on September 28 - more on that later.
For the first 100 readers, HBR has offered the opportunity to download the article for free. You can access the free download here:
If you're too late for the free link, drop me an email and we'll figure out how to get you a copy.
- Posted Rita McGrath on August 26, 2011
I thought this extremely thought provoking blog post by fellow Harvard Blogger Tony Golsby-Smith was a great reminder that although analytical tools and frameworks can help solve certain kinds of problems, they are hopeless facing other situations.
Among the advantages humanities training offers that Golsby-Smith points out are:
- The ability to deal with ambiguity and see richer patterns
- Creativity and curiosity, correlates with innovation
- Skilfull writing and presentation of ideas
I would also argue that students of the humanities are far more likely to be aware of aspects of leadership we don't spend nearly enough time on - for instance, the emotional meaning people make of executive actions. I've written before about the power of symbolism and was teaching about it recently at a company famous for its hard-charging, numbers oriented culture. After the session, not one but about a quarter of the people in the room came up to me with the same basic acknowledgement "I stink at symbolism - I get it wrong every time." Perhaps we should assign those folks a dose of some of the classics to see the meaning that people can make of their actions and how easy it is to be misunderstood.
With respect to writing and communicating, even though some people have a gift for it, there's no substitute for practice and feedback if you seek to get better. Humanities training does that, too.
- Posted Rita McGrath on April 08, 2011
Scott Anthony of Innosight wrote a great blog post: 3 ways to prioritize a long list of ideas which provides some good insight into how to start.
I'll add to that:: I also try to think of contrasts. Good projects (and what made them good) vs. not so good (and what made them that way). Good customers vs. not so. Great opportunities vs. things you wish you hadn't done...and eventually you can begin to discern the patterns that make some things desirable and others not. That can eventually lead to something as disciplined as a scorecard, which I've written about in various books. Should I put a sample on the tools page? Let me know....
- Posted Rita McGrath on April 05, 2011
Lynda is a good friend and a gifted analyst of organizations in the wild. I thought my readers might be interested in her latest news update, which follows:
I’m really excited to update you on what’s going on in my world. First of all, many of you have heard me mention my new book on the future of work. I’m happy to announce that the book, called The Shift, will be launching on 12 May.
Overall, at the Hot Spots Movement, much of our efforts are focused on building collaborative capabilities for our clients, who now see productive teamworking and collaboration as essential to their future success.
I also recently wrote in the FT about the status of women on boards in the UK. I invite you all to join in the discussion on my LinkedIn group, Facebook page and the Hot Spots newsletter. Please stay tuned for updates on my blog at http://lyndagrattonfutureofwork.typepad.com/ and Twitter account - @lyndagratton - as well.
- Posted Rita McGrath on March 22, 2011
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