Big Industrial Meets Digital — Rob Charter, Group President Caterpillar
Robert Siegel

As a consultant applying complex adaptive systems theory to organizations for the past 30 years I read your article with great interest. Working intensively with Monsanto, BP, Unilever and others on both sides of the ocean, I’ve observed (and generated alterations) to some large organizations. I’ve also been observing other large corporations attempting major corporate transformation.

Big industrial meeting digital is certainly the cause of more intense attempts of transformation than ever before. Technology demands no less. It’s “disrupt your self before someone else does”. Look for potential sources of disruption company wide, at all levels, for all services internal as well as external.

The issue with customer relations can be seen in a different light by expanding the boundaries of what you think of as the system. If customers are included in your “complex adaptive system”, the seeming conflict will disappear with only a little effort. You seem to have discovered this and put it into practice. A word of caution. “Best practices” are not the best future. Not to ignore them, but also not to be too attached to them (or that phrase). Whatever the current best practices in the industry, you want to exceed them to continue to maintain a lead.

More later.