Digital to the rescue or has the opportunity past for GE?

It does seem every time you read about GE it seems to be under a relentless barrage of negative news coverage.Then the stock is continuing to get a hammering perpetually.

Mistakes will be also made going forward, as the current management tries to “right the ship” after so much mismanagement. Digital course correction might be one of these mistakes.

For me watching the current GE story unveil itself it, just fills me with a real sense of sadness. Clearly, it now seems GE lost its ability to listen, reflect and adapt, its management was cutting many governance corners, pushing for performance that was not as much in the ‘tank’ as they thought and placing bets on the future, that was very bearish and as it is now revealed, possibly reckless.

GE as a group business was being pushed on, regardless, it sort of ploughed on as a supertanker does, unable to make the course corrections it was required to do, as its steering was jammed in ‘full speed and forward drive’, regardless, ignoring dangers, possibly sealed in its own bubble, one of believing it was invincible.

Yet one of the boldest moves made in the reign of Jeff Immelt that might have been a substantial transformation was the shift to digital that he underpinned, although there have been comments I have seen by outsiders of “the endless checkbook.” All I can say is that you have to invest in opportunities like this, they are so transforming. The ability to spot the industrial internet was one of his positive signature moves, taken I believe nearly a decade ago – a lifetime in the digital world. So lets update where we are.

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Old economy ecosystems signal innovation opportunities

rail-crossover-points-2Paul and I have been writing mostly about ecosystems and platforms in the abstract to date, not spending a lot of time talking about specific companies or industries.

We took this approach because we wanted to establish a firm foundation about ecosystems and platforms generally, that wasn’t subject to debate about their applicability to one industry or another.

In the next several posts we will be looking at two diametrically opposed industries and the importance of ecosystems and platforms to both of these industries. Fittingly, I’ll be looking at the importance of innovation in ecosystems and platforms for an “old economy” industry – the railroads, while Paul looks at the importance of platforms and ecosystems in a new economy company – Alibaba.

On the (rail)road again… Continue reading

The Emerging Industry 4.0 Business Ecosystem

The PwC Industry 4.0 framework

The PwC Industry 4.0 framework

We are moving rapidly from the industrial economy, reliant on single companies simply producing specific products they believe consumers needed or simply accepted.

This approach is often giving consumers no or limited choice and this supply-side approach is about to change into one that is driven by a digital economy where all sides of the value equation are connecting. One where consumers have a greater ‘voice’ over their choice that manufacturers will need to listen to and respond accordingly.

This connected world is driving transformation inside every industry, pushing for innovation dynamism as knowledge exchanges are accelerating.

There becomes this increasing business “commons” of connecting, communicating, seeking manufacturers to collaborate far more closely, across new technology and infrastructures, that allow for a greater ‘economic diffusion’ than ever before.

Industry 4.0 is driving much of this change within industries and emerging are some powerful industrial digital ecosystems such as GE are driving to achieve, to transform their business.

There is a dramatic shift in recognizing where our future assets lie. In the past, it was heavily invested in physical ownership, the knowledge was kept within organizations and this ‘became the competitive advantage. Today that is rapidly disappearing, the knowledge is recognized to lay mostly outside the organization, it is the ‘connected minds’ across multiple stakeholders, that participate through and across new platforms and ecosystems and how these are leveraged and managed is where are looking to gain any new competitive advantage. Continue reading