Where Does Advantage Come From in the Social Era?


Every day we hear about traditional industries being disrupted, about great new ideas that are creating growth, and about changes to the way we work. It sure seems as though the nature of business is changing these days.

But is it, really?

It turns out the answer is yes.

I’ve done some research with Nilofer Merchant and Martie-Louise Verreynne looking at where advantage comes from now that we’re in the social era. You can see the paper here – at least for now it’s free to download. Please check it out, and share it if you like it. It’s the data-driven version of the Innovation Matrix that we started writing about a couple of years ago.

We’ll say more about it soon, but in the meantime, here’s one of the key points:

We have observed the economy move from one where centralized organizations initiated value creation to one where that same value creation develops with the help of multiple outside, contributing networks. This tectonic shift means that all modern industries now have a different source of advantage. We have seen this documented in examples starting in the 1990s, when influencers enabled innova- tion platforms as business models, and continued to what we see today in the Social Era with crowdsourcing, open innovation and business models.

The Social Era will reward those organizations that realize they shouldn’t cre- ate value alone. If the industrial era was about building things, the social era is about connecting things, people, and ideas.

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

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