We are the middle of dramatic change to the way organisations are run and how they grow. So it seems that new models of organisation are being invented every day. The passing of cradle to grave employment patterns, collaborative rather than directive leadership and the democratisation of intellectual property and ideas is jumping over traditional ways of managing and organising.
There are so many ideas and opportunities to grasp that it goes beyond the reach of one individual or even one team to take full advantage of. It requires developing and maintaining an ever-changing network of collaborators. As a recent article in The Economist’ noted:
Startups used to face difficult choices about when to invest in large and lumpy assets such as property and computer systems. Today they can expand very fast by buying in services as and when they need them. They can incorporate online for a few hundred dollars, raise money from crowdsourcing sites such as Kickstarter, hire programmers from Upwork, rent computer-processing power from Amazon, find manufacturers on Alibaba, arrange payments systems at Square, and immediately set about conquering the world. Vizio was the bestselling brand of television in America in 2010 with just 200 employees. WhatsApp persuaded Facebook to buy it for $19 billion despite having fewer than 60 employees and revenues of $20m.Three objections hang over the idea that this is a revolution in the making. The first is that it is confined to a corner of Silicon Valley. Yet the insurgent economy is going mainstream. Startups are in every business from spectacles (Warby Parker) to finance (Symphony). Airbnb put up nearly 17m guests over the summer and Uber drives millions of people every day. WeWork, an American outfit that provides accommodation for startups, has 8,000 companies with 30,000 workers in 56 locations in 17 cities.’
Along with the changes described above traditional ‘cradle to grave’ employment patterns have been fading for many years – all this is leading to the growth of an enormous ‘freelancer’ market. The freelancer market is very broad and deep and somewhat chaotic. Look at how newcomers such as Aldi can assault well know supermarket chains (Tesco & Sansbury in the UK or Coles and Woolworths in Australia).
How is this done in a digital age?
Well… the more you shop, the more experienced you become and soon you have the highest quality at the lowest-priced groceries in the neighbourhood at your fingertips on your smartphone or tablet. With limited capital – this is an option that all businesses can embrace to defend themselves in the new marketplace.
Watch the following video from the Sydney University Business School on how a grassroots response to climate change is countering the ‘myths’ of corporate power and the globalisation of business. Professor Christopher Wright is casting new light on climate change and how business has contributed to combatting this global crisis.