Many ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) nations are rapidly developing to keep up with energy demands. Massive economic zones are being built out and spun up with new technology and improved infrastructure as a base so that business, industrial clusters, and innovation hubs can help job-creating industries flourish in those regions.
As urban centers explode in population growth, so does energy demand. This is compounded when these centers have legacy infrastructure that must move towards smart cities. That includes Smart City planning in Southeast Asia, and the energy/infrastructure/digital challenges along with it that are specific to that region.
Thailand 4.0, Smart Cities, and the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) are real world examples.
This is all part of the world of exponential change we now live in. Exponential, because so many technological advancements — whether that be in quantum computing, AI, AR/VR, biotech, robotics, or 3D printing — are occurring rapidly, simultaneously, and building on one another, across every sector.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, believes this Fourth Industrial Revolution is an unprecedented period of scale, scope, and complexity.
Peter Diamandis, Executive Chairman of Singularity University and founder and executive chairman of XPRIZE, also refers to the 6Ds, a rough six step outline of a digital technology growth cycle:
Something isn’t classified as exponential until it breaks whole number barrier. Growth begins to be measured in whole numbers and multiplies from there.
Remember, we’ve always talked about AI in the 20th century; this was the “decimal-number build up.”
It wasn’t until last decade that we started to see various technological dependencies evolve where AI can advance even further. The timing for market readiness appears nearby.
A few tried and tested exercises for understanding how things will evolve across different time horizons include the Three Horizons Framework and Blue Ocean Strategy.
Many factors may be out of your control, like regulations, technological dependencies, and economic forces.
The major issue however with all organizations is not the technology itself, but the ripple effects and unseen pressures placed on their business model, grand strategy, and their capabilities as they move forward into the next few years.
Capabilities are really just how you perform certain tasks consistently over time with a finite amount of resources — for better or worse.
Where do you even start? Here are some questions that, if you can answer completely, will help you map out your business model:
Business models show how you create, deliver, and capture value.
The reality is that a lot of us have no idea what our own business model looks like on paper. The moment you toss a team into the room and have them verbally explain their business model, everyone is sure to get confused.
The trick is to map it visually using the Business Model Canvas. For example, answer these questions:
These are example questions, but they’re supposed to help lead to a fully mapped business model that gives us a visual understanding of all your resources.
Visuals can quickly tell the story of how you create, deliver, and capture value within your own ecosystem.
This gives us a way to finally answer these two things:
a. How you’re currently exploiting today’s opportunities
b. How you’re exploring future opportunities
The next step is understanding how market turbulence, outside forces, and various pressures are forcing you to tweak or pivot your business model. Is your vessel prepared to navigate uncertain territory?
Grand strategy is not about visions or aspirations, but action. It’s a set of mutually reinforcing choices to achieve a larger goal. That’s it.
If part of that goal is innovation, then the choices supporting that must be clearly communicated and coherent so that there is no hesitation or misunderstanding during the voyage.
What’s your current strategy? Just tell me where your time, money, and energy is allocated and I can pretty much tell you what your current strategy is.
Once you’ve created a visual map of your business model and an understanding of the environment,you’re free to ask two more questions:
90% of the time this will be about some very bold questions you will answer during the voyage.
This is about looking beyond the battle and beyond the workshop. It anticipates that this will be a multi-year campaign will be fraught with friction and many unexpected battles ahead.
But, if senior leaders are confident about their shared north star, then a grand strategy shows how they plan to intelligently drive time, money, and energy into those battles.
To give you an example of how to newly allocate resources, Alphabet has their 70/20/10 rule where it proliferates it across three different time horizons and adjacencies. It’s a good rule of thumb to draw inspiration from, but is it good for you? Is a 80/10/5 ratio good? Or something else?
You may never know unless you understand your context, current business model, and current system for making things happen etc.
So this is about trade-offs: How will you execute your new strategy using your finite amount of resources while maintaining your current portfolio of products, services, etc?
Remember, audacious goals like innovation (however you’re defining it) requires many months of shifting those resources. Larger organizations can still make things happen, it’s just that you have a lot of mass and it can take time to get your chess pieces into position.
Beware of flavors-of-the-month and anything being used as a panacea to solve everything. Hop onto Medium.com and you’ll quickly discover it's designer consultants talking amongst themselves as they celebrate the latest methods.
The latest doesn’t mean the greatest. It’s easy to get carried away by fanfare and anything that declares to be the solution to the zeitgeist.
The major antidote is to properly give your situation the proper scope. You need to really know where to put your finite resources like time, energy, money etc.
When we at Skylance say that everything works, we mean that everything has a hit rate. You’ll get a modicum of results, but did you achieve anything towards mission-critical objectives?
We’ll take a look in the next article.