We are conversant in the ideas that shape our world. From business thinking to disruptive technologies and macro-economic trends, our understanding traverses disciplines, industries and geography. But we are more than knowledge brokers. Our problem solving focus means that we strive to apply abstract concepts to practical outcomes.
Our sources of inspiration range from complexity science to computing and information theory, and from investment banking to political science. Our principals are active contributors to global thought leadership networks, including the Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna, Austria, the Harvard Business Review, the Systems Wisdom Institute in Philadelphia.
We highlight below several areas where we actively contribute: complexity management, future of capitalism, and the future of work.
Complexity is often difficult to define. It is easier to point to its visible outcomes. The 2007 financial crisis affords a pertinent example. Too big to fail is directly attributable to complexity - highly entangled cause-effect relationship webs that cannot be dissembled without driving systemic impacts.
How does one manage this complexity by-product of modern progress? There are various thought leaders proposing several models and approaches for addressing this question. Nassim Taleb argues for new finance mathematics that can capture outlier, Black Swan events. Dave Snowden has put forth the Cynefin framework, which aims to detect whether we are dealing with complexity in the first place. We have proceeded to relate many of these models into a single ontology - see our managing partner's winning Global Peter Drucker Forum essay.
Capitalism may be at a cross-roads, and by extension democracy at large. Capitalism rests on the premise of free markets and fair economic competition driving shared prosperity. This premise is increasingly brought into question by arguments of wealth inequality. If the economic system that underlies democratic societies loses credibility, how do we assure a safe and prosperous future for generations to come? Why is wealth inequality increasing and what can we do about it?
Two leading global thinkers, Roger Martin and Clay Christensen, propose complementary views that get to both causes and solutions. in A Creativity Imperative for the Future of Capitalism, Martin argues that the wealth inequality gap can be closed by focusing on human creativity - specifically, he argues that we need to increase the creativity content of routine-intensive jobs. Christensen, the disruptive innovation guru, takes a complementary and more "structural" view. In his CNN article We are living the capitalist's dilemma, he introduces a key distinction between innovations that create jobs - empowering innovations - and innovations that destroy jobs - efficiency innovations. Christensen next argues that the capitalism economic engine is healthy as long as capital freed from efficiency innovations is reinvested in empowering innovations. Christensen further argues that this working model is compromised by a short term investment return mindset which reinvests capital saved by efficiency innovations into yet further efficiency innovations. Christensen proposes various public policy that might encourage capital reinvestment in empowering innovations.
We personally subscribe to a creativity-driven knowledge economy, with more workers focusing on effective rather than efficiency outcomes. In this regard, we support David Norford's Innovation 4 Jobs initiative.
Future of capitalism
Future of work
Given the proliferation of disruptive technologies, there is an ongoing debate as to whether technological innovation will displace human jobs, leading to unemployment and social unrest. There are currently two conflicting views held by those weary of machine automation and those who welcome it. We very much align with a symbiotic human-machine economy. Our managing partner has authored a Harvard Business Review reinforcing this view - accessible here.
Read our managing partner's Harvard Business Review case for a symbiotic human-machine economy here.
Read our managing partner's winning 2013 Global Drucker Forum essay relating top complexity management models here.