We all try every day to deliver brilliant performances, develop new markets, launch innovations on the market and increase sales. An unstoppable and inescapable drive. Always striving for more. Things should get better and suddenly we find ourselves in an optimisation spiral. Get better – in a world full of smaller items that grow in complexity with every innovative step. Major challenges are confronting the industry today: increasingly shorter innovation cycles, greater flexibility, scarcer resources and fiercer competition. This means that, in order to remain fit for the future, companies need to boost their productivity while at the same time using fewer resources.
For a long time, the industrial world was very clearly structured. Companies were able to depend on the principles of ‘cost advantages in production due to size and volume’ and ‘cost synergies with a broad portfolio of products’. This situation has undergone a fundamental change as globalisation has progressed, resources become increasingly scarce and major technological advances are made. Companies are required to produce more quickly, with a higher quality and at a lower price, as well as to act in a more forward-looking way. Value added chains today extend beyond the confines of a single location or company, past country borders and across time zones.
This heightened level of dynamism on international markets is driving a phenomenon familiar to group companies and organisations even more: simultaneous cooperation and competition between organisations. Organisations are increasingly finding themselves both competing with each other, e.g. for resources or customers, while at the same time having to cooperate with each other, e.g. when carrying out a joint, large-scale project. This is increasing the complexity of relationships between organisations. Up to now, the focus of organisational science has primarily been on analysing the dynamics within individual companies. This focus is now shifting more to issues relating to the coordination and linking of several organisations. It will only be possible to manage this trend by adopting a strategic ‘coopetition’ approach.
All the while, this paradigm shift asks big questions of entrepreneurs that are fearless, ready to take risks and lead the way. Companies of the future will need strong personalities and clear standpoints that will also need to be communicated. Many have lost touch with their core. They need to rediscover it. The question now is not if you should adapt or get involved, but how. Where will the optimisation spiral take us?
And how can you just get better?