Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Future of Enterprise

The political changes that are sweeping our nation are also affecting the future of enterprise. And while the “old guard” of society seems to be desperately seeking evidence of a return to common ideals and shared experiences, what is instead emerging are demands for change that seem to be grounded in a diffusion of concepts and cultures, but which appear nonetheless to be adaptively converging into a tidal wave that is enveloping enterprise and governments alike. The integrating vectors of this new wave of constituent thinking are calling on the future of enterprise to be inclusive, transparent, and inventive:

Be inclusive. Pluralism requires that every stakeholder be a supportive party to the solution. The days of elitism (where a few decide what is best for everyone) and populism (where a simple and often slim majority imposes its will on the remainder) are waning in favor of a new yearning for super-majorities of hyperactive constituents.

Be transparent. Stakeholder confidence in enterprise management regimes can only “reset” if the financial state of the firm is reported in real-time, and the underlying assumptions of financial projections are fully disclosed. Indeed, all future paths for enterprise management (including governance) should be paved in disclosure.

Be inventive. Effective enterprise will require new concepts and technologies that transcend monopolization and commoditization in order to achieve more authentic and genuine forms of competitive advantage that respect the community, environment, and security challenges of our time. Moreover, while past solutions have most often focused on ways to mitigate risk, the time has arrived for inventive thinking that actually reduces the risks our society fears most, both natural and manmade.

As a businessperson, I have begun looking for new projects that are “real,” by which I mean projects that require inclusive teamwork, non-proprietary transparency, and an inventive spirit that seeks to address business problems in ways never before considered. The future of enterprise is upon us – and it is real.

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