1. Strategy: Product to Platform
In a digital age, the value of one’s product is less important than the value of one’s platform. It’s not about how well you create value, but how well you enable and empower others to create value. For example, as products, Microsoft’s smartphones are arguably just as good as those from Apple and phones using Android, but as a platform, Microsoft’s phones fall short. Developers are less likely to build apps for them, and the overall ecosystem is less appealing to customers. Meanwhile, in areas like software, transportation, and hospitality, platform companies like Salesforce.com, Uber and Airbnb demonstrate the power of platforms to disrupt even well-established industries.
2. Organization: Hierarchy to Network
The traditional approach to organization is hierarchical, with specialized roles and formal reporting structures. Industrial-era scale was achieved through centralized control and decentralized operations. This approach is efficient and consistent, but rigid and monolithic. Transformative scale requires greater agility and adaptability, and therefore a different organizational model. Networks are the answer. We can see the power of networks in everything from social media to the design of the Internet. Even in nature, flocks of birds and schools of fish can move with remarkable coordination, and yet no one is in charge. Network principles guide their behavior.
3. Communication: Audience to Community
For the last hundred years, communication has been largely one-to-many through broadcast media. Now the digital revolution has enabled many-to-many communication, enabling people to communicate on a global scale. Once-passive audiences are becoming collaborative communities. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are only the tip of the iceberg. There is an opportunity for social innovators to create and engage their own communities in the way that Nike has engaged runners through its Nike+ community and American Express has engaged small business owners through its Open Forum community.
4. Relationship: Consume to Co-create