It seems that there are a wide range of Board members (directors of companies, government enterprises and not-for-profit entities) who are unable to conceive / appreciate the nature of the disruption that is likely to / will inevitably occur in their market place – disruptions caused by innovative adoption of IT by others. This is not about knowing more about IT. It is about being able to picture and imagine a different operating model in their marketplace.
In a completely different context, my Church Council was discussing future directions. One Council member suggested that we pose the following question to members of our faith community – what are your hopes and dreams for how this faith community might make a difference in people’s lives in 10/15 years’ time. Another member who makes some of the most valuable contributions to the thinking of our Council responded to say she could not think that way. She could not conceive of what life might be like in 15 years time and then work back to the implications for now. Having said that, she was one of the first to “get” the fact that the world has changed and our community has not changed, but needs to respond to the changing world. She can work forward incrementally and deal with the necessary change in that fashion, but cannot use her imagination to jump forward 15 years. Some can, some can’t. It is not a reflection of an inappropriateness or unsuitability for governance. It is the different ways in which our minds work.
In a different space, exploring IT enabled innovation, I have become alert to one of the key issues facing Boards and Governments being that IT enabled innovation is disrupting businesses and marketplaces all over the world.
Yet there is an amazing inability of some people, even some for whom one might have the highest regard, to conceive of the nature of the disruption that will occur and the impact for their organisation. This is not about technology or technical knowledge. It is about the ability to imagine and conceive of completely different operating models being adopted by competitors which will radically change marketplace dynamics. It is an inability to observe patterns in other marketplaces and to conceive of the implications for the marketplaces in which they operate.We need to find ways to activate the collective imagination of Boards and Governments to better perceive changes which will inevitably occur in the markets in which they operate (whether commercial or non-commercial markets).
What better way than to model the markets in which we operate and regard them as the enterprise. In that way, we will identify capabilities needed by the market and the opportunities to position our enterprises to meet changing market operating models and their associated market demands.