The old solutions have become the new problems

The old solutions have become the new problems

Shoshana Zuboff is an ex Harvard Business School professor with an ethical take on the need to focus on partnerships with customers. She calls this “The race to I-Space”

Business is no longer just about the product. Now it's about solutions for the individual. Economic value is hidden in consumers' unmet needs and is released by providing people with the means to fulfill those needs. But in order to release new value, you need to get out of organization space and into the subjective space where individuals live. I call it "I-Space." This means shedding the "us-them" mentality. Now everyone is an insider.

Not crazy about her term “i-space” sounds too gimmicky but loving how she can write about value creation (and indeed co-creation) without it sounding like mumbo-jumbo.

Her rule number 3: “Collaborate and Federate to Compete” is particularly relevant to mobile operators who left to their own devices really just want to operate a cartel that completely ignore user needs (it’s 2010, why the hell can’t I write my own tariff?)

When you're in I-Space, you need to collaborate and federate to provide the support individuals need. You can't do it alone because the needs of individuals don't conform to existing organizational and industry boundaries. This means learning how to manage what you don't control or own. These economies of trust are becoming even more important than economies of scale. The emphasis shifts from contracts and legal sanctions to trust and transparency as companies work together, aligned with their customers' interests--sharing core values, business practices, infrastructure, and systems. Amazon's marketplace and eBay's webs of buyers and sellers are early prototypes of these federated networks. Apple and Facebook are struggling to understand the rules of engagement that should govern relationships with their applications developers. You can see them climbing a new learning curve through trial and error as they figure out how to build and sustain economies of trust.

Good stuff :-) Business week viewpoint