Glaxo Smith Kline Hoping To Become More Elastic

GSK is one of the biggest drugs companies in the world and like all big pharmas faces paradigm completion. That is to say their R&D paradigms have nowhere to go in a world where cost reduction is the overwhelming priority.

The company took a big chance a couple of years back by appointing a 40 something CEO, Andrew Witty. Witty has brought a little humility to GSK. Like GE’s leadership, he is now saying, publicly, that some of the problems of medicine are too big for a company to solve. Continue reading

Pebble Technology and its “Watch” — A Start-up Surging with Elasticity

With thousands of others, I just became an official backer on Kickstarter of the Pebble, a watch, really a wearable computing device that interfaces seamlessly, conveniently, and wirelessly  with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android OS phones.

The Pebble / Pebble Technology

Over the past two months I’ve written twice about wearable computing – coming from mainline firms, Nike (the FuelBand) and Google (Google glasses). Nike and Google are well-established elastic enterprises and benefit from the elasticity that they have built into their companies. Their wearable devices add new levels of engagement and options for  their huge base of customers.

But Pebble Technology, the maker of Pebble, is a startup.  It also has a noteworthy distinction: it raised over $1 Million dollars from supporters on Kickstarter in 28 hours – for a product that is not yet in production.   But a snappy video and a low-key pitch inspired thousands to make an “investment.”  The Pebble folks also smartly provided “investors” with various contribution options, from a minimum of $99 to a high of $10,000, but each level will receive 1 or more Pebble watches when they are produced sometime in the fall of 2012. Continue reading

We’re on a Journey to the Vanishing Point: Google’s Project Glass and Why You Should Care

It started as a rumor.  It rippled through social networks.  Then came stories by Nick Bilton at the New York Times in December 2011, Seth Weintrab at 9TO5 Google and most recently again from Nick Bilton in a follow-up article about testing prototypes of “Google Glasses.” And Steven Levy at Wired recounted some deep history and added perspective and background elements about the project, now known as Project Glass.

Google CEO, Larry Page Sports New Google Glasses
(Flickr / Thomas Hawk)

This much we know.  According to many reports, an official demo video, and individuals who recently saw Larry Page wearing the glasses at a party, these high-tech glasses superimpose critical information and alerts as one interacts with the physical world, in realtime.  They are essentially a heads-up display for daily life. And if it catches on and moves beyond geekdom, it could be a winner in the interface wars. And no matter how much you want it, whatever you see is a prototype, not yet a product for sale.

But Google’s Project Glass is about more than a new mobile or wearable device – it’s about what we call the vanishing point.  Smartphones and tablets are only the first step on a journey to operationally merge the digital and physical worlds. Continue reading

Just Added Chapter 3

We’ve been extremely busy finalising the Elastic Enterprise and that meant the proof reading of Chapter 3 went onto the back burner. However, it is now available – please go to the online version where you can also download a PDF. Thanks to everyone who has so far sent us emails and argued with us over omissions as well as definitions and logic. We really appreciate it.

Social Business and The Elastic Enterprise

How does the Elastic enterprise relate to that other big meme of the day: social business? I’ve begun exploring that over on Forbes, in response to Alistair Rennie’s piece on the same topic (and updated my post on what is a social business here).

The point about social business is that many companies are exploring different aspects of social (social media, collaboration) BUT they tend to do that in something of a strategic black hole. Social business is actually a process objective – do things better. Companies looking at social should take care to set strategic goals – that’s where the Elastic Enterprise comes in. Continue reading

Thinking About a New Way To Scale

In The Elastic Enterprise we introduce the term universal connector to describe technology that makes business much easier to scale. Why is this idea so important? Making it easy to scale business is transparently important but can it be true that something so little known as an API or an RSS feed can be pivotal to business?

Surely products like the iPhone or Android are what change the world? Continue reading

Silicon Valley Strikes Again: Apple and the Art of The Elastic Enterprise

I recall speculating with academic colleagues, in the 1980s, about what would be the characteristics of enterprises in the next century.  Everyone knew then that the industrial-based enterprises of the first 75 years of the twentieth century had run out of gas.  But even though most of us were using Macintoshes at the time, none of us knew that Apple would be one of the leaders ushering in an historic and revolutionary business approach, some 25 years later. Continue reading

The Even More Curious Case of Leading Companies Without Leaders

The Sapient Leader

Corporate leaders need access to a much richer set of experiences than in the past. They need to shape a broader range of people, experts, markets, projects, across the globe. They need a broader knowledge base in order to do this. And they need curiosity as much as they might need charisma so they can grasp the potential of these disciplines and new global markets. But above all else we say that the sapient leader is not about personalities.

Is there a contradiction there?

To explain what we mean we’re going to look at BMW. The experience of BMW led us to many of the ideas and concepts that have gone into the Elastic Enterprise, so let me explain!
Continue reading