Resources

This Blog is based on a lot of theories – those “proven” and those currently “en vogue”.

Each one of these “mashed up” theories is in itself quite powerful and is worthy of much more elaboration. But while this blog is trying to stand on the shoulder of these theories and look from there, you as the reader might be interested in taking a deeper look.

Digital Business Topics

Reinventing Organizations wiki: Provides details into the inner working of Management in the Digital Age, based on Frederic Laloux Holacracy model.

Google Re:work: A site promoting Googles management practices. The major focus is on HR, but there is some advice on team management, too.

Objective Key Results (OKR): A way to delegate, agree and track work.

Lean Startup Movement: The basic principle of companies going digital no matter which sector they are in can be found in. Eric Rees, who is credited with being the first one write about this subject in a holistic, insightful manner has curated a book series on this topic. I especially suggest reading the “Lean Startup” and “Lean Enterprise”.

Business Model Canvas: A useful graphical format and method to capture the essence of a business model on one page. It is a commercial web-site, but basic templates are for download for free.

BlogchainHub.Net: A source of info about all things “blogchain” – the technology that might re-democratize the Internet and/or flatten hierachies even more – in the future.

Cognitive Biases: All those things that systematically distort human decision making. Pioneered by Nobel Prize Winners Daniel Hahnemann and Amos Tversky, understanding biases is a must to devise processes that enable an organisations to make sense of data, to experiment and improve.

Object Oriented Design: A architectural approach to Designing Software. Very technical stuff, but in the digital business, a lot of Techie Ideas fertile business thinking about organisations. Plus: There is an ever larger dependency between the structure of an organisation  and the architecture of a software. So as so often: Combining two formerly separate branches of research advances both areas immensely.

Business Strategy Frameworks

Porter’s forces forces of competition: A classic (1980’s) Model to model the position a company vs. it’s competitors. Very useful to challenge established thinking inside a company.

McKinsey’s 7S Model: A classic (1980’s) Model to dissect a company in seven different parts. Often, simplified versions are being used for pragmatic reasons, as these are usually good enough for organizational analysis. A favorite version in consulting work is using just 4 dimensions: People, Organization, Processes and Systems.

Business Process Reengineering: A 1990’s model of re-inventing companies from the ground up. Processes took a central position. If business objectives could be tied business processes and these processes be optimized, dramatic improvements in business performance will follow. With business process reengineering “process” thinking really took off and process mapping etc and similar techniques are still today a dominant train of thought in any organization.

Economic Frameworks

Transaction Cost Theory: An economic theory that explains economic activity or inactivity based on the costs of exchanges of goods and services. Invented in 1937 by Noble Prize Winner Ronald Coase and further developed by yet another Noble Prize Winner Oliver E. Williamson in the 1980’s. It is an early framework which has a unique place in economic theories, as it was assuming bounded rationality of decision makers, not the usual (neoclassical) key assumption of hyper rationality. A key element is that it explains how decisions about economic transactions under uncertainty are made – one key insight for the ever changing nature of the digital revolution.

Behavioral Economics: A blend of economical and psychological set of theories which is pretty much en vogue these days, as it replace the assumed rational behavior with empirically observed behavior. Experiments are made and empirically analyzed on how human actors actually perform in a given situation. This relatively modern theory is very important, as one of the five driver of Digitalization is customer centricity. By use of behavioral economics the actions of a customer can be much better understood today then ever. A spring of knowledge that can be utilized to mutual benefits of customer and companies.

Principal Agent problem: A central problem of our time – and a roadblock to the profound culture shift towards digitalization. Managers are agents, taking care of the capital of shareholders, of the well being of employees etc. They should act at the interests of their principals, the shareholders or even the employees. But they have their own interests. In a world of asymmetric information with too much capital around, managers use the insider information available exclusively to them to exploit shareholders and employees a like. This is an important reason for todays increasing gap between managerial and workers income. No, it is not left wing propaganda, it is established economic theory.

Change Frameworks

Business Capability: A business capability is everything a company needs to a certain outcome. It encompasses resources, time, expenditure. A business capability describes what a company is able to achieve in a certain area (say next day replenishment to stores). In contrast to a process, which specifies how a company come up with a certain result. For setting the targets of a transformation it is much more helpful to define capabilities (i.e. expected outcomes) than processes (how outcomes are produced).

Programs: A group of interrelated projects is usually bundled into a program, that coordinates targets, resources, budget and validates progress against plan. So it is really nothing more than a higher node in the classical change portfolio of a company. The smallest organization form for change involving a group of persons is a project, many projects can be grouped into a program and all programs together are equal to the total change agenda of a company.

Projects: “A set of coordinated activities to change something from status A to status B given a time, a budget and a resource constraint”. A Project is the classical way to approach change in an organization. There is line organization which takes care of day to day recurring tasks and a parallel project organization. A project team usually encompasses team members from the line organization plus external contractors. This may appear trivial to most informed business readers, but is still important to understand as A) projects are hard to master and B) traditional project management practices are generally not good enough for many aspects of digitalization.

Theory Compendiums

Business Strategy – Wikipedia theme series. Not all encompassing, but a nice collection of interlinked wiki sites on the theme.

Value Based Management – a privately maintained for profit source of short descriptions of management models. An entertaining browse and good for new ideas of a quick look-up.

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