Previously we talked about the exponential leverage opportunity from concurrently taking the most promising thousand solutions to their target hundreds of deployment domains. In the traditional world of serial scaling, that would take multiple lifetimes for each individual innovative solution – clearly a time luxury we don’t have. However, that unthinkable is very much achievable now thanks to the perfect technology storm – simultaneous rapid maturing of several transformative technologies.
For proven impact solutions to be concurrently scaled, we must be able to rapidly assemble the right local teams, and then enable them in each of the target communities. Take Starbucks for example, they roughly open 600+ stores globally each year. That means they need to find the right local team for operations, and make sure the supply chain checks out. And despite hundreds of moving parts, they successfully scale their business year after year. As discussed in another blog on the power of ecosystems, identifying the right mix of talent to build local execution teams rapidly is conceivable. However, that is only one half of the puzzle. Enabling those teams at required economics is equally critical. This is where the following exciting technologies offer huge opportunities.
Perfect storm of transformative technologies
In the last two decades, mobile network reach and penetration have exploded. There is hardly any community of sizable inhabitants without a mobile network and phones. Following two examples are perfect cases in point. Roughly two years ago, I took a two-week sightseeing trip to my dream-destination: Madagascar. Everywhere I went outside the capital city of Antananarivo, I saw extreme poverty and few well-paved roads or electricity poles — yet solar panels hung from nearly every rooftop, charging mobile phones!
And several weeks ago, amid COVID-19’s worldwide chaos, I was told by a colleague in Zimbabwe that teachers and students in remote rural villages are using WhatsApp (on their mobile phones) to conduct remote-classes!
Clearly, we have outstanding distribution reach and efficiency at our disposal to avoid losing much time from the development of an innovation in one part of the world and its distribution to hundreds of communities all over the globe. Not only can the whole solution ‘blueprint’ be taken quickly, but also these teams can be supported remotely using the same WhatsApp type platforms. Enablement at wire-speed!
In less than a decade, social media has revolutionized the speed and precision of reaching target customers. With more than 2.95 billion active social media accounts, communication of new innovative solutions with appropriate value-propositions in local languages has become extremely efficient and fast, lowering another major structural barrier. Today’s social media enabled communications are not just about information dissemination, but also about rich ‘storytelling’ that connects to a target’s personal interests. This adds a key enabler to the success of local ‘CARBON-Copy’ teams and rapid successful scaling of the solutions.
Gone are the days when new businesses faced huge capital requirements for technology infrastructure with custom and dedicated IT equipment, processes, and personnel. With the exponential spread and adoption of cloud technology comes massive benefits of standardization, virtualization, cost-sharing, and use-based-scaling. Hence it has become possible to start up new, local impact-solution-franchisees quickly, and with low marginal costs through successive growth phases.
Another major barrier for a new business used to be access to experienced, qualified talent / leaders at a moment’s notice. Many experienced leaders have shifted to freelance models due to the rapid spread of virtualized collaboration, and remote-office technology models. Thus, locating and accessing them has become very easy and cost effective. Another ‘last-mile resourcing barrier’ towards rapid building of local franchisee teams lowered.
With IoT, it is easy to not only get systems-enabled real-time visibility into operations of local ‘CARBON-Copy’ teams, but also manage them as a single cohesive, virtual mega-organization. Furthermore, the massive data (gathered from connectivity of all kinds of physical resources such as machines, equipment, devices, buildings, access etc.) and analytics further accelerates AI-driven learnings & diffusion of best practices to accelerate enablement of local teams and overcome ‘last-mile resourcing barriers.
Taken together these transformational technologies not only help remove the barrier of last-mile-resourcing, but also deliver astronomical impact because of their other key benefits such as speed, access, cost, self-learning & diffusion, and use-based-consumption.