Download the 2009 IBM Global CEO Study, "The Enterprise of the Future" for all the insights. And here are some biased highlights to ponder ...
CEO's are finally admitting that there's value to this whole "transparency" thing. I'm not sure they're ready to go all the way with a concept frank calls "C2C" marketing, (CEO to Customer), but hey, openly admitting that passionate, vocal, viral customers can be allies vs. enemies is a good thing. (Like they had a choice anyway.)
The study also reports that the "change gap" tripled from 2006 to 2008, that is, the difference between a CEO's expected substantial change in their organization over the next three years vs. his / her perceived ability to successfully manage that change. The numbers: 83% of CEOs expect substantial change, yet only 61% of them said they've had success with change in the past – thus a "change gap" of 22% compared to 8% in the 2006 study. In short, they've got their work cut out for them.
And three of the five characteristics of "The Enterprise of the Future" that most interested me were:
- Hungry for change
- Innovative beyond customer imagination
- Disruptive by nature
Nice platitudes. But how do you actually kickstart this kind of mindset and behavior within an organization? You start cultivating "user participation systems" (as Intuit co-founder, Scott Cook,dubbed them in his HBR 10/28 article) inside and outside of your company. And in frank lingo, you aim for an organization that shines from the inside out: leverage enterprise 2.0 technology to empower employees to naturally collaborate among themselves and with their best customers.
Co-creating with your best customers can be very rewarding. They don't work at your place. They don't play office politics. They don't care about year-end bonuses. They're just incredibly passionate about your product and service and are always willing to tell you about the pros and cons of your stuff straight up, real time, with amazingly intimate detail.
(Exactly how to prioritize and channel all that input is another new 2.0 skill leadership and managers need to learn.)
Yet a few companies in the IBM report are listening to their customers and leveraging what they're hearing, allowing "customers to swap roles for much deeper involvement." (The report features the story of how Nintendo tweaked the Wii with "gamer Sages," for example.) Now that's a way to surge ahead of the competition during these fascinating times. In a 12/08 MediaPost article, Diane Mermigas introduces a new KPI to quantify this strategy: ROI (Return on Involvement). Definitely something to tinker with.
Then last week I heard about loyalty clubs and member events (lush environments for gathering rich customer insights) being trimmed and killed altogether by a major automaker and an RV manufacturer. I'd call that a foolproof way to becoming a non-existent enterprise of the future.