The Company of the Future: How the Communications Revolution is Changing Management
By Frances Cairncross
The Economists Cairncross provides an excellent overview of the changes that we are seeing around us, largely driven by new technologies. It focuses on management and managers, who need to understand and adapt to these emerging technologies and at the same time translate them into guidelines that people within their organisations can understand and act upon. The challenge that we face is it that people dont change as fast as technologies, and neither do some of the basics of business and management.
As Cairncross writes, the Internet makes it easier to manage collaboration: In companies, teams will have new opportunities to work together; companies too will collaborate more, in alliances that allow them to outsource production or to spread risk or to enter new markets. Teams may be separated by time zone or by geographic distance and increasingly will work for different employers. Successful collaboration will require excellent communication, and incentives that reward sharing information and working for common goals.
Champy is the co-author of Re-engineering the Corporation. He describes X-Engineering: It is about achieving breakthrough business performance by applying information technology to redesign processes that cross organizational boundaries. It requires that you rethink your whole business and all its relationships, not just with customers but also with suppliers, partners and employees even competitors.
Peter Drucker has described the Information Revolution as a Knowledge Revolution, and us as knowledge workers. Two other books discuss the importance of knowledge in the new enterprise.
In his book, Stewart, who had written Intellectual Capital earlier, shows how to apply the concept of intellectual capital to manage knowledge assets. In one of the chapters on creating an Intellectual Capital strategy, Stewart discusses a four-pronged approach: identify and evaluate the role of knowledge in your business as input, process and output; match the revenues youve just found with the knowledge assets that produce them; develop a strategy for investing in and exploiting intellectual assets; improve the efficiency of knowledge work and knowledge workers.
Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge
By Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott and William Snyder
Write the authors: Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basisThese people dont necessarily work together every day, but they meet because they find value in their interactions. As they spend time together, they typically share information, insight, and advice. They help each other solve problems. They discuss their situations, their aspirations, and their needs. They ponder common issues, explore ideas, and act as sounding boards. They may create tools, standards, generic designs, manuals, and other documents or they may simply develop a tacit understanding that they share. However they accumulate knowledge, they become informally bound by the value that they find in learning together.
Tomorrow: Something Different