Been getting a number of great comments and emails from people on the post on Journalism in an Open Era.
Another blogger I meant to link to he’s ideas on the future of organizations I find smart, edgy and thoughtful is Umair Haque, the Director of the Havas Media Lab who blogs for the Harvard Business Review.
In a piece entitled How to Build a Next-Generation Business Now, Haque’s concludes that the problem that dragged down wall street is in part, the same one that is killing (or transforming to be nicer) journalism. My journalism in an open era piece is set, in part, on the belief that the gut wrenching changes we are experiencing economically are part of a transition to a new rule-set, one that will favour, and possibility require, more “open” institutions and business models. This will require – in part – a new journalism but also real leadership in the private, public and non-profit sector (the type Henry Mintzberg raged about in his excellent oped in the Globe and Mail).
Here’s Haque (bold and italic text is mine) on the subject:
The first step in building next-generation businesses is to recognize the real problem boardrooms face – that we’ve moved beyond strategy decay. Building next-gen businesses depends on recognizing that they are not about new business models or even new strategies.
The stunningly total meltdown we just witnessed in the investment banking sector – the end of Wall St as we know it – was something far darker and more remarkable. It wasn’t simple business model obsolescence – an old business model being superseded by a more efficient or productive one. The problem the investment banks had wasn’t at the level of business models – it had little to do with revenue streams, customer segmentation, or value propositions.
And neither was it what Gary Hamel has termed “strategy decay” – imitation and commoditization eroding the returns to a once-defensible strategic position, scarce resource, or painstakingly built core competence.
It was something bigger and more vital: institutional decay. Investment banks failed not just as businesses, but as financial institutions that were supposedly built to last. It was ultimately how they were organized and managed as economic institutions – poor incentives, near-total opacity, zero responsibility, absolute myopia – that was the problem. The rot was in their DNA, in their institutional makeup, not in their strategies or business models.
The point is this: the central challenge 21st century boardrooms must face is not reinventing strategies, or business models, but reinventing businesses as institutions.
Old stuff is breaking fast. The rot is in the DNA – we may, in may circumstances, need a new institutional make up. And the new rule sets need to be understood quickly. Are we coming into an Open Era? I don’t know, but I think open and/or transparent organizations are going to have a leg up.