Situation Normal Everything Must Change

Business Leadership Day
Location: F 151
Average rating: ****.
(4.25, 8 ratings)

For many in business, the words open source conjures up concepts of hippy idealism where geeks in a spirit of free love give away their work to others for nothing. For many, it’s about as anti-capitalist as you can get. Those many are as gullible as the citizens of Ancient Troy and they should be wary of “Geeks bearing Gifts”.

Open source is one of the deadliest weapons in the arsenal of any experienced strategist. It can be used to remove barriers to entry into an opponent’s business, to encourage standardization around your practice creating a cost of transition for opponents, and it can be used to develop ecosystems to strengthen your position as part of a land grab for new sources of value or even as a source of recruitment of talent.

This session explores these concepts by first laying out the fundamentals of change and how all industry evolves through a commonly re-occuring pattern. Using this we will examine why one size never fits all in management, the explosion of change from big data and cloud computing to why new forms of organisation are emerging that differ from traditional companies. These new organisations compete with ecosystems and use open technologies (open source, open data, open hardware) as a competitive weapon against others. However, you can’t fight then if you don’t understand the changing battleground.

Photo of Simon Wardley

Simon Wardley

Leading Edge Forum

Simon Wardley is a researcher for the Leading Edge Forum focused on the intersection of IT strategy and new technologies. Simon is a seasoned executive who has spent the last 15 years defining future IT strategies for companies in the FMCG, retail, and IT industries—from Canon’s early leadership in the cloud-computing space in 2005 to Ubuntu’s recent dominance as the top cloud operating system. As a geneticist with a love of mathematics and a fascination for economics, Simon has always found himself dealing with complex systems, whether in behavioral patterns, the environmental risks of chemical pollution, developing novel computer systems, or managing companies. He is a passionate advocate and researcher in the fields of open source, commoditization, innovation, organizational structure, and cybernetics.

Simon’s most recent published research, “Clash of the Titans: Can China Dethrone Silicon Valley?,” assesses the high-tech challenge from China and what this means to the future of global technology industry competition. His previous research covers topics including the nature of technological and business change over the next 20 years, value chain mapping, strategies for an increasingly open economy, Web 2.0, and a lifecycle approach to cloud computing. Simon is a regular presenter at conferences worldwide and has been voted one of the UK’s top 50 most influential people in IT in Computer Weekly’s 2011 and 2012 polls.

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Picture of Simon Wardley
Simon Wardley
07/20/2012 3:52am PDT

I’ve uploaded a very much shorter selection of the slides with some bubble text annotation to slideshare.

Thank you for the comments, that’s much appreciated.

Michael, my apologies if the presentation was a bit too fast paced for you. I did try and warn people at the beginning that it was going to be fast (which is my normal style) – and yes, if you’ve never seen the concepts before or you’re not used to the style, then in some cases it can be difficult. I do hope it wasn’t a complete waste of time for you.

Picture of Alex Martelli
Alex Martelli
07/19/2012 2:10am PDT

I find the speed of the presentation “just right” (it may help that I’ve seen Simon talk before!). Maybe, more about the way in which timing of the various developments is variable, and the factors playing into that, would be worth incorporating.

ken haynie
07/18/2012 10:55am PDT

Simon has a lot of interesting and profound things to say about strategy, especially as it related to open source software. He was very well prepared, and gave a very professional presentation. No fluff – a tremendous amount of material condensed into robust models backed up by lots of real-world examples that led to many ‘aha’ moments. I think he would make a great keynote. He also handled random questions easily, responding with such depth that it was clear we were only getting a small fraction of what he knows. I wish he would write a book! I caught up with him later and he patiently answered a number of questions. Being very involved in strategy, i really appreciated the density and depth of his material. His perspective on OSS business models and strategy – especially using OSS as a weapon – was very eye-opening! Anyone going up against large entrenched competition should really study his slides and consider how devastating a good open source strategy can be.

Picture of Michael Downey
Michael Downey
07/17/2012 8:14am PDT

This was a great talk, I think … unfortunately it went by way too fast to comprehend it all (at least for me) or take notes. Felt rushed and the flashing complex graphs for only a few moments made it difficult to absorb everything, even with repetition. Looking forward to reviewing the materials later.


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