The ultimate battlefield is the marketplace. And as we march ahead to do battle, let us keep these words from Michael Porter in mind (Financial Times interview with Rod Newing, June 5, 2002):
If theres anything new about this era, its that competition is increasingly global with more ideas, skills and knowledge-intensity. With the Net, a new way of conducting business is available, but it doesnt change the laws of business or most of what creates a competitive advantage. The fundamentals of competition remain unchanged.
It is important to be operationally efficient to be competitive, but its not enough. There is a crying need for a distinctive strategyFundamental to the success of any company and any effort to develop strategy is having a proper goal for business clearly in mind. This is to create economic value by selling a product at a price that is greater than the cost of producing it. The best way to measure economic value is a superior return on capital employed.
This series (my longest, stretching over 5 weeks and 34 columns) has been about technologys 10X forces which are impacting us, and how we can think about them as windows to new worlds. In whatever we are doing, technology can make a big difference. By understanding the underlying forces at work, we can build a mental map of the present and future world. This will help us to better leverage technologys 10X tsunamis. Every wave brings destruction of the old order and opportunities to shape the new.
Id like to end with these words by Indias new President APJ Abdul Kalam (from his new book Ignited Minds):
[I want] my young readers to hear a voice that says, Start Moving. Leadership must lead us to prosperity. Young Indians with constructive ideas should not have to see them wither in the long wait for approval. They have to rise above norms which are meant to keep them timid in the name of safety and to discourage entrepreneurship in the name of trade regimes, organizational order and group. As it is said, Thinking is Capital, Enterprise is the way, Hard Work is the solution.
Every nation has struggled to achieve its goals. Generations have given their best to make life better for their offspring. There is nothing mysterious, or hidden about this, no alternative to effort. And yet, we fail to follow the winning trackI believe that when we believe in our goals, that what we dream of can become reality, results will begin to follow. Ignited Minds is about developing that conviction in ourselves, and discarding the things that hold us back.
Not all of us may be winners as we participate in the efforts to build new futures. Yet, we will all have contributed to the wheel of progress. What is needed is a mindset to challenge the mindset and think globally. Countries like India have to embrace technology. It is a competitive world out there, and we have the potential within us to play against the best and win. It is a world which values ideas and knowledge. It is world in which perhaps the biggest 10X force is Vision we need to be able to a imagine a different future, and then go out and build it.