I’m writing to announce an edge initiative from the Center for the Edge. It’s the publication of a really, really short book, “Shift Happens”, written by John Seely Brown, Duleesha Kulasooriya and me (with the significant help of our crew at the Center), now available on Amazon (bulk orders available here).
We all know that most executives are pressed for time – it’s one of the main reasons companies fall into the “short-termism” trap. Who has time to pay attention to long-term trends? We all want the “sound-bite” or the executive summary that gives the key points and the “so-whats” in a fast, concise and compelling way.
In our quest to fight “short-termism”, we’ve been evangelizing the “long view.” We trade in paradox – one of our key beliefs is that the long view is increasingly essential to drive short-term success. Focusing just on the short-term will actually lead to short-term failure.
So, the Center for the Edge has been investing heavily to explore the “Big Shift”, the long-term forces that have been playing out for decades and are re-shaping the global business landscape in profound ways. We’ve written a lot about this and, starting in five years ago, we’ve been publishing a “Shift Index” with 25 metrics that will help executives to better understand the rate of progress of the Big Shift.
But, here’s the problem. Who has the time to read what we’ve written? Yes, a brave minority of you have carved out the time to dive into the details. And, for that, we’re grateful. But what about the rest of you?
With “Shift Happens,” we’re trying something new.
In a very few pages with a very few words on each page, we focus on the broad themes of the Big Shift:
- What are the two key forces that are shaping the global business landscape?
- What are the three most important shifts that are occurring as a result of these forces?
- What are the three things that we all need to do to turn mounting performance pressure into expanding opportunity?
Our goal isn’t just to make sense of what’s happening around us - we want to help all of us make progress in harnessing these forces to create powerful new forms of wealth.
One key point: this isn’t just about the future; it’s about today. We’re working harder and harder and performing less and less well because we’re stuck in old ways of doing business, rather than seeing and shifting to the new ways of doing business that are available to us now.
At the risk of over-simplifying, the choice is extinction or evolution. While extinction may not happen tomorrow, the sooner we make this choice, the better off we’ll be.
So, what choice will we make? The time to decide is now, not tomorrow. “Shift Happens” will help. And spread the word – your friends and colleagues will thank you for it.
Based on your feedback, we’ve got several more of these really, really short books on the way. Edgy idea, but then again . . .
(And, yes, this is the shortest blog post I've ever written!)