Toys”R”Us, Kodak, Nokia, and Blackberry were well-managed, exemplary leaders in their industries – until they weren’t. Now, as they teeter on the edge of the abyss, it’s apparent that they failed to anticipate the changes that would render their well-made, in-demand products obsolete within the span of a few years. Acclaimed business model innovator and entrepreneurship expert Dr. Alex Osterwalder and his co-author Dr. Yves Pigneur are sending a message to CEOs of today’s successful corporations: to survive, you must simultaneously manage the present and invent the future.
In the forthcoming publication “Dear CEO: 50 Personal Letters from the World’s Leading Business Thinkers” (Bloomsbury Business, October 2017),” Osterwalder and Pigneur reveal a blueprint for a radical reform of corporate structures that can give big-name companies the flexibility and dynamism of small startups without compromising their emphasis on sound management and steady growth. Essentially, a modern corporation needs two leaders: a present-day manager, the CEO, and a forward-looking visionary.
“[Companies] need a powerful person skilled at execution who focuses on the present, and a powerful person skilled at entrepreneurship who focuses on inventing the future,” the authors write. “You need to create an innovation engine that will function alongside your current business. This is a whole new organizational chart of people and skills led at the top by a Chief Entrepreneur.”
The innovation engine provides space for internal entrepreneurs to experiment, rapidly and cheaply prototype ideas, and test new business models and value propositions. It’s this ‘ambidextrous culture’ that will be a primary survival tool for 21st century businesses.
To learn more about this new approach to corporate governance, read Osterwalder and Pigneur’s letter in “Dear CEO.” In the process, you can save your company from the same fate as many well-run organizations that concentrated on the present, to the detriment of the future.