admin on April 12th, 2012
GAMES WITH CUSTOMERS–How Post-industrial Firms Compete: Industrial era strategies are win/lose games against competitors to better predict, produce and sell what large groups of customers will need in the future. Post-industrial strategies are collaborative games with individual customers to know earlier and respond better to what those customers need now……as XEROX’s Sentinel System enables XEROX to know earlier than its customers — and respond quickly to — what customer users of office equipment like, don’t like and would like.
The strategic battles among post-industrial sense-and-respond firms will be waged on the terrain of “anticipate and preempt.” Anticipate does not mean “predict.” It means “know earlier,” and is a diagnostic skill rather than a predictive skill. For example, imagine going to a doctor because you have stomach pain. The doctor palpates, probes, and sends you to the lab for tests. During this process you are emitting signals that you can’t interpret, but the doctor can. Based on this interpretation the doctor informs you that you have appendicitis and need an appendectomy. Your physician is not predicting that you will need an appendectomy, she or he is telling you that you need one now.
Knowing earlier is a S&R core competence. It entails designing role-specific Heads up Displays to enhance the speed and quality of decisions made by empowered decision makers, and investing in methods and technologies that systematically and continuously improve the organization’s ability to make meaning out of apparent noise.
Similarly, “preempt” does not necessarily mean responding faster; it means responding more appropriately – which often requires speed, but always requires effectiveness. Modular, rapidly reconfigurable organizations; accountability for outcomes, rather than actions; a coherent design for the “games” with customers; and an architecture of the interactions between customer and supplier roles — these are prerequisites for systematic preemption.