Friday, December 05, 2008

Note for Self - that's a lot of talking.

For a number of years, I've been talking about how activities transition from innovation to commodity or more simply put how yesterday's hot stuff becomes today's boredom.

I undertook a piece of research into this field and found what appears to be an S-Curve relationship between the ubiquity (how common an activity is) and the certainty of an activity (approximated from the quantity of information published)

Now every presentation I give is slightly different. Each mashes up (thanks to Dennis for that) different parts from earlier presentations as well as new elements from my research. Well, I'm considering an entirely new style of presentation, so I've decided to write down the list of the themes I've covered and to use this as a basis for my new work. I thought, I'd keep a record of the list here (see below).

It's a lot, however there is a whole bunch of stuff that I've known about and barely touched upon. So next year, I'm going to provide a high speed, kitten based, mash-up of a presentation. It will contain an initial introduction and then fifty five themes, with the audience choosing which ones they want. I've got a nifty new way of doing this including bonus sections ... should be fun.

I've also been asked by numerous people whether I'm coming back to the U.S. to present again? I will probably do a presentation or two, on behalf of Canonical, for various cloud issues but regarding my management theory presentations that's strictly U.K / Europe based. The cost of travel and accommodation in the U.S. is simply too expensive.

Theme List

  1. It's not just products that get commoditised but processes and all other forms of activities.
  2. How an activity's characteristics change from innovation to commodity, no matter what it is.
  3. Why management is complex and why there are no magic bullet solutions.
  4. Why outsourcing often fails.
  5. Why good management often leads to the death of a company.
  6. How companies evolve between various stages from disorganisation to getting it together and finally "we need more innovation".
  7. The inefficiency of organisational structure where similar types of activities are grouped together (such as marketing and IT) rather than the stages of an activity's lifecycle (transitional, commodity, first mover)
  8. Why you need to constantly adapt to changes in the market place in order to just stand still and survive today (the business equivalent of the Red Queen Hypothesis)
  9. The difference between commodification and commoditisation.
  10. Why you need to constantly innovate in order to survive tomorrow (creative destruction)
  11. Why commoditisation is both friend and foe.
  12. Why change is the norm.
  13. Why you need to constantly balance creative destruction and adaptation in an organisation and how this leads to a paradox of order and disorder. The innovation paradox.
  14. Why Google's 20% rule was an efficient way of balancing this paradox and a continual source of competitive advantage.
  15. Why marketing and branding for a vendor constantly creates a disadvantage for their consumers.
  16. The shift of IT from a product to a service based economy (what we used to call utility computing many years ago, and now is unfortunately called cloud computing.)
  17. Why open source standards are an essential part of our future.
  18. Why organisations only exist in the intersection between people and activities and how traditional forms of management are inefficient.
  19. The need for more dynamic methods of management.
  20. The limits of ROI and why it is only suitable for certain stages of an activity's lifecycle.
  21. Why you can't plan the future and why every organisation needs some chaos.
  22. Why today's organisational structures often fail people and why innovation is not everyone's job.
  23. How strategy varies with lifecycle.
  24. Why innovation markets will only work for post-event inventions and discoveries.
  25. The limits of open source and closed source technology and the domains where those techniques are particularly strong.
  26. Why fortune favours the brave and how the future value of an activity is inversely proportional to the certainty we have about it.
  27. Why transparency and portability matter in cloud computing.
  28. Why you have no choice in the long run over whether you adopt cloud computing.
  29. Why fuzziness in processes is valuable information.
  30. Why single methods of project management (for example six sigma, prince 2 or agile) are inefficient and often harmful
  31. Why getting it wrong doesn't matter as long as everyone else is getting it wrong.
  32. Why web 2.0 is important and why now.
  33. Why commoditisation leads to more innovation and a faster rate of evolution (extension from Herbert Simon's work on the Theory of Hierarchy)
  34. The difference between innovation and product or service innovation (whether radical, incremental or disruptive)
  35. Why KPI's and attempts to make management easy can seriously damage your wealth (extension from Ashby's law of Requisite Variety)
  36. The three accelerators of innovation in web 2.0 - network effects, componentisation and bridging the divide between opportunity and ability.
  37. How the growth of 3D printing and the commoditisation of manufacturing processes will create new languages.
  38. Why IT organisations are under increasing organisational stress as they try to balance the needs of commoditisation and innovation.
  39. Why competitive life just seems to get faster and faster.
  40. Why the transition from one domain (such as products or services or bespoke) to another causes major disruption.
  41. The difference between ideas, invention, discovery and innovation.
  42. The effects and failure of organisations to deal with the commoditisation of human, physical and social capital.
  43. How social networks allow us to challenge traditional views of management.
  44. Why organisations need pioneers, colonisers and town planners.
  45. Why the role of the enterprise architecture is so important and never completed.
  46. Why organisations should use both X & Y managers and something in between (the XY Manager).
  47. The problem with patents and why the length of term of a patent should vary according to the innovation and how long society could be expected to independently discover it.
  48. Why tailor made can be bad for the consumer.
  49. Why failing and gambling are important management traits.

The other six ... well, I've got to have some surprises. However, just like the other stuff in this list, they are not new ideas just old ideas repackaged.