Defining the Next Generation Enterprise – All Hands on Deck!

Don Tapscott recently (indirectly) lit a fire under me. I went out for a run and listened to this HBR podcast (download here) from way back in May of 2007 on Don’s book Wikinomics. For those in business who are not aware of Don … you need to be. Don is the Chairman of think-tank New Paradigm and a preeminent thought leader in the area of fundamental business changes and trends on the horizon. He has consistently predicted many significant business shifts over the past couple of decades through his works The Digital Economy, Growing Up Digital, The Naked Corporation, and Wikinomics among other titles.

I had already read Wikinomics and have been living in the Enterprise 2.0 space for quite a while now – certainly prior to this recent run. Yet, Don’s HBR interview was a stark reminder of the fact that collaborating outside of your company is a vital capability for competitive success in the emerging business world governed by Wikinomics. At that moment it occured to me that we at BSG Alliance are embarking on an effort to define a Next Generation Enterprise and help lead the transformation to NGE for our customers … however we have not yet fully engaged in a highly collaborative effort to do so.

To be sure, we have engaged with dozens of our customers – both individually and through our BSG Concours executive conference platform – on the topic, and each interaction has both generated significant interest and advanced the NGE definition effort substantially. What would happen if we powered this effort with hundreds to thousands or more participants in an open collaborative effort in Web 2.0? The argument is that the gains in advancing the NGE definition and transformation effort would grow exponentially. So, here goes … or as my BSG colleagues would say, I’m ‘Free to be NGE’ …

I am starting a series of blog posts here on the topic of The Next Generation Enterprise. With this series, I would like to frame out our current thinking, messaging, and definition within BSG Alliance about NGEs, and invite all readers to begin to participate in the discussion about all things NGE – including what one looks like, why NGE is important, what the challenges are, what are the underlying building blocks and capabilities NGEs must possess, and how to become an NGE.

Yes, we’re doing this internally across our entire company. Keeping it to ourselves only slows the definition and transformation effort down and slows the ability for companies to capture the value of being NGE sooner rather than later. If we lead in an open and collaborative manner, everyone benefits at greater levels, including BSG Alliance.

My goal is to engage as many interested and relevant participants in the debate as possible to create some high-value collaborative thought-leadership, quality discussion and synthesis on the topic of NGE. I’m not sure where it will go yet, but will be sure to extend the debate and discussion to as many relevant social platforms beyond blogging as is relevant to continue to advance the NGE discussion (read: possible NGE Facebook group, NGE wikis on core components of NGEs, external blogs run by NGE promoters and detractors, and dare I suggest the possibility of a Wikipedia entry on NGE? – the community will guide us).

I hope my BSG Alliance colleagues find the effort fruitful and join in this NGE social effort by commenting on the threads started here and building on this NGE discussion through their own content and thought-leadership from their blogs.

I’m looking forward to the discussion and hope you all find it interesting and engaging. My next posts will outline an initial definition of an NGE and some core components that we believe NGEs must possess. Following that, I will be blogging on each of the components separately, and hope to add real world color (while protecting third-party confidentiality) following interesting customer and prospect meetings, and BSG Concours conference presentations.

And, don’t forget to listen to Don Tapscott’s HBR interview linked to above – it’s rich beyond its emphasis on the value of collaboration and peer production.

^ brian

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