Building a Global Sensing Network

Building a Global Sensing NetworkIf the innovation war is just beginning, then you need to make sure you’re fighting it outside your organization — not inside.

The old way of succeeding in business was to hire the most clever, educated, experienced and motivated people you could afford and then direct them to come up with the best customer solutions possible, organize and execute their production and marketing predictably and efficiently, and do their best to outmaneuver the competition.

But the battlefield of business success is changing. Future business success will be built upon the ability to:

  1. Utilize expert communities.
  2. Identify and gather technology trend information, customer insights and local social mutations from around the globe.
  3. Mobilize the organization in organic ways to utilize resources and information often beyond its control.
  4. Still organize and execute production and marketing predictably and efficiently in the middle of all this complexity.

At the same time, market leaders will be increasingly determined not by their ability to outmaneuver the competition in a known market, but by their ability to identify and solve for the key unknowns in markets that will continue to become more global and less defined. Future market leaders will be those organizations that build superior global sensing networks and do a better job at making sense of the inputs from these networks to select the optimal actionable insights to drive innovation.

By this point, hopefully you are asking yourself two questions:

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10 thoughts on “Building a Global Sensing Network

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  2. John Cooper

    Very interesting post. Many of the points that you mention are echoed in a very interesting book called “The Power of Pull”. Two central themes in the book are the importance of serendipity and the concept of “return on attention”. Contrary to the definition of serendipity the authors suggest that there are ways that you can shape chance by harnessing 3 elements: environments, practices and preparedness. If you can work out ways to orchestrate and control the interactions between these elements your effort will be rewarded with a higher return on attention. Here are some goals you can set yourself to start shaping serendipity:

    – Choose environments that increase the likelihood of encountering people who share your passion
    – Become and stay visible to people who matter most in relation to your passion
    – If possible, influence their professional endeavours; in turn helping to amplify your own
    – Discover and interact with the right people at the right time
    Make the most of every relevant encounter

    There is also an important point that the authors mention regarding what you say about “identifying and gathering technology trend information, customer insights and local social mutations from around the globe.” The source of economic value will move from “stocks” of knowledge to “flows” of new knowledge. These knowledge flows will flourish on the edge. Why? Because unlike those at the core, participants on the edge are battling with how to serve unmet needs with unexploited capabilities and all the uncertainty that comes with this. The brave who toil on the edges focus on ways to innovate and create value by connecting unmet needs with unexploited capabilities and then scaling these opportunities as rapidly as possible. Let’s call it Edg-ovation. Maybe not…any suggestions?

    As a summary, we can think of building global sensing networks as a way of preparing ourselves for an unpredictable future. Louis Pasteur said over 150 years ago that “Chance favours the prepared mind”, his statement is no less true today.

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