People tend to think in linear terms. When something grows, we expect it to keep growing. If it decreases, we expect it to decrease further. We are natural trend watchers and instinctively look for patterns. Not much more can algorithms do today... Trends are beautiful, especially because they're easy to follow. The problem is that they're not worth much if something unforeseen happens. 

Image by Robert Bye

"When spring comes, snow melts first at the periphery, because that is where it is most exposed"

Andy Grove

Identify disruptions and benefit more than others from opportunities

The mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot called the cycle of continuity, which is interrupted by discontinuities, the "Noah Effects and Joseph Effects". Joseph effects support, as in the biblical story, long periods of continuity. Noah effects, on the other hand, are like a great storm that creates a massive flood of disruptions and washes away the previous order. Business models based on the Joseph effects are interfered with by Noah effects and create new opportunities for those who are able to identify and adapt.

 

Throughout history, inflection points have always determined the subsequent phases of continuity. Inflection points cause a dramatic shift in the competitive dynamics of a viable system. They have the power to bring exponential change. Perhaps ten times bigger, ten times cheaper, ten times more comfortable and so on. Frequent triggers for turning points are not only technological change. Regulatory change, social change, demographic change, new connections (between formerly isolated elements, typically in the case of digital disruptions) or political change can also be the cause.

 

Future does not happen all at once. Rather, it unevenly unfolds over time. Everywhere around us its signs are always present. The challenge is to recognize them and interpret them in a meaningful way. The key is to look a little bit ahead and see that what everyone agrees on no longer works in a pattern of facts.

Snow melts at the edges first. 

Andy Grove, co-founder and former CEO of Intel, noted: "When spring comes, the snow first melts at the periphery, because that's where it's most exposed". This means nothing other than that changes in our markets take place at the periphery and not in the core, at the outliers and not in the mainstream, at the disturbers and not at the main players. Even the very best ideas for improvements or innovations can be found by looking at what customers are actually dealing with, how they use things, what excites, annoys, delights or surprises them. It's the small, insignificant clues of everyday life that make a big difference at the end of the day. 

 

For people who run organizations, this insight has very significant implications. If change happens first at the edges, we need to make sure that we see when it happens. We can't do that with Big Data and analytics. In order to approach this goal in a structured way in organizations, a completely new approach is needed: Contextual Data ("C-Data") Collaboration. With the help of C-Data we learn what people from all areas of our organisation have to say. Only with C-Data can we make truly data-driven decisions in complex situations. 

 

beeBlum has mechanisms to come into direct contact with the "edges". Managers are regularly confronted with different perspectives. Team-based structures allow a more open exchange than is typically practiced in the real world. This way, unpleasant and therefore even more valuable messages are given a place. By including customer-specific criteria, findings can be evaluated and tracked in a structured way.

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