From Dark Capitalism to an Inclusive Society and other takeaways from the Global Peter Drucker Forum 2016
The Global Peter Drucker Forum 2016 was an event of outstanding uniqueness, not only because of its participants, but because of its important “job done”. It startet with the “The Entrepreneurial Society” and ended even more important with the “Inclusive Society” (Drucker Forum 2017!). Vienna 2016 / 2017 / … and discussions after Vienna may be a platform to develop the necessary visions for such an “Inclusive Society”. The alternative to an Inclusive Society may be a dystopian Dark Capitalism and in the end bloody revolutions ...
But lets start with the beginnng ;-)
1. A homage to the Global Peter Drucker Forum 2016 …
The purpose of this article is on the one hand an homage to the Drucker Forum 2016 and to the leading women and men inspiring the community in Vienna, especially to Richard Straub for his incredible lifetime achievement.
The limits of my English can hardly describe the special quality of flows I was part of, in Vienna. Where else in the world do you have the chance — as I had — to talk two days with people like MaelleGavet, Phil Kotler, Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo, Fredmund Malik, Hermann Simon, Ralf Köster, Gisbert Rühl, Prabhu Guptara, Alexander Osterwalder or Nicolas Colin and others to boost your own perspectives through a collaborative interfusion with great minds? Although I could not talk with John Hagel or Roger Martin, there presentation nevertheless influenced my perspectives a lot.
But Vienna was not only an intellectual flow, it was a great pleasure to be there. I am thankful for the “laughs” with Ralf Köster, Prabhu Guptara and Fredmund Malik during the speakers night and and with Efosa Ojomo and Andreas Müller the day after. Efosa by the way transformed my most preferred “job to be done” metaphor (job to be done theory of Christensen) from milkshake into a billion-dollar story. I hope to hear more from him soon. He is for me a thinker for an Inlusive Society, especially for Africa.
2. Exclusive and inclusive visions of the entrepreneur and innovation
On the other hand it is an article about two questions in the center of the Global Drucker Forum who may have a fundamental impact on our future.
What is the right vision / paradigm for:
a) The Entrepreneurial Society?
b) Innovation in the Entrepreneurial Society?
- Entrepreneurs only?
The reflections were inspired by a question and an almost invisible conflict during the Durcker Forum. The question was: “Will the Entrepreneurial Society be a society of entrepreneurs only”. The invisible conflict was a conflict between the “representatives” of disruptive and non disruptive innovations. Should the Entrepreneurial Society be a society of entrepreneurs only? I do not think so. Such a society will — this is my believe — in the worst case degenerate into a dualistic society with a few of monopolistic billion dollar “entrepreneurs” on the top, glorifying the Uber-Menschen — and a mass of precarious “not-really-entrepreneurs” entrepreneurs at the bottom!
This Dark Capitalism will eat democracy as Phil Kotler made it very clear in Vienna. But what is the alternative? The Entrepreneurial Society should be a society with a real “Entrepreneurial DNA” in the best INCLUSIVE way possible, where we all and not only members of an elite have an entrepreneurial attitude towards each other. In this scenario being entrepreneurial is a collaborative network job to be done in ecosystems and not the job of a single Uber-Mensch! This will — in the best case — generate inclusive prosperity for the 99% too.
- Disruption only?
But it was not the only separation/exclusion question we have talked about in Vienna. It seemed as if we talked 50% of our time in Vienna about exploration versus exploitation and a small bridge Alex Osterwalder was drawing as part of his sketch …
How can we enable a “normal” company to be successful in both areas or even more general how can we have an inclusive innovation architecture on the level of the society. Here we might discover a second separation/ exclusion, the exclusion of small and medium sized enterprises from the disruptive innovation logic. We might fail to master exploration / innovation or the integration of exploration and exploitation “at scale”.
- Consequences of two separations
Both — the separation of the 1% from the other and the separation of the majority of companies from the disruptors may be a severe problem for our social combat. So lets start with the consequences and bloody revolutions versus salvation to see that we do not talk about management theory, but real life. … There was a man with us in Vienna, the He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (#Trump). Because of him as a representative of the new dualism we have to discuss a bigger picture.
To make my further perspectives understandable, I would like to give some insights in my personal context and in my mind and share with you some very personal experiences at the beginning.
After Vienna I know how important story telling is ;-)
3. Our exclusive future between bloody revolutions and salvation …
So lets start: When my sister and brother in law married last year in the Trinity College of Cambridge with a community of leading scientific experts (from IBM and the global academic community) and when I joined this Wednesday the Drucker Forum in Vienna with again leading experts (of management), I — being not really a part of both communities (family, Drucker Society), because of not being “a part of” in general — enjoyed nevertheless very much two wonderful events and locations.
On the one hand.
That they closed the Trinity College in Cambrigde for our event to visitors (with a gatekeeper reminding me of Kafkas Vor dem Gesetz) made me smile. To have a brother in law being able— as a Millennium Prize Winner — to let them close Trinity college for the public community was funny to me. At first …
. An exclusive society
On the other hand, both events let me painfully feel an almost iconic separation in our still not enough collaborative society and it let me foresee the perspective of bloody revolutions to painfully overcome the still existing and even increasing dualism between the “elite” and the “mass” through a cathartic period of conflicts. The Uber precariat, the Brexit and the Trumps are only the beginning of something dark much greater than this, I believe, knowing the darkness in me (writing a story about my alter ego, a meta terrorist, “Dark Messiah 4.0” and sometimes even dreaming of bloody revolutions).
- … and the Song of Angry Man
So thinking in Cambridge and Vienna about the unfulfilled promises of the “Creative Capitalism” of Buffet / Gates or the “Collaborative Commons” of Rifkin and all the Manifestos declaring a better future, I remembered “Les Miserables” and the “Song of Angry Man”.
It was like a mantra or mem within me with a warning about the future:
Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men!
It is the music of the people,
Who will not be slaves again!
To know exactly what was in my mind, please listen:
Will exclusion, especially exclusion from prosperity, end in angry (white) man far from what we experience nowadays? What are our answers on that? Is Trump bashing the only answer? I thing new logic of inclusion and a bigger picture of economy within society will be the only sustainable answer!
4. Two angry white man in Vienna …
Fortunately, not only some of the Uber victims at the bottom are angry man. Parts of the management elite seem to be angry too and so we all can hope that we will overcome the dualism and exclusion threating the social combat.
- Gary Hamel was angry
Gary Hamel was a very angry white man in Vienna for example. After Phil Kotlers warning and his message of capitalism as a force destroying democracy and his story of the “Decline of Democracy” Hamels extraordinary emotional speeches against the absurdities of existing “exclusive” management and his demand for a more bottom up, grass root empowered management were perhaps the most iconic demand for alternatives. That the father of marketing criticizes capitalism and the father of all full basket of management core concepts demands alternatives is perhaps more important than a lot of new neo marxists criticizing and demanding.
Kotler and Hamel make clear: There is really a job to be done!
- Hermann Simon was angry
The most angry man from the German speaking community was Mr. Pricing, Hermann Simon. The “dis-cover-er” of the Hidden Champions seemed to be fed up with the one-sided glorification of the new Disruptors which often have gigantic negative, anti-social impacts and do not care a minute about anything beyond their scope. As an alternative he presented the Hidden Champions as creators of thousands of patents and billion dollar stories (not evaluation, but revenues!) who cared a lot for their people, e.g. in 2007/8.
His presentation made it clear that we should appreciate different kinds of innovations and that innovation cannot be reduced to horizontal disruptors or the Fortune Global 500 Corporations only. Ralf Köster, Ex-CEO of BARTEC and Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, and Gisbert Rühl, CEO of Klöckner and Germanys Nr. 1 reference for digital transformation of the Mittelstand, confirmed with their innovation stories the message of Hermann Simon.
But I do not want to finish with separation and angry white man as my last word and last thoughts written down here. The sound of angriness of the People Song in my mind was fortunately not my final takeaway of Vienna.
- … or salvation in the end? the Epilogue!
For God´s sake, the sound of the “Epilogue of Vienna” was a totaly different one, it was more like the epilogue of “Les Miserables” after the failed revolution, the final peaceful tipping point of the story:
“Take my hand.
I’ll lead you to salvation.
Take my love
For love is everlasting
The truth that once was spoken
To love another person
Is to see the face of God.”
To know exactly what was in my mind, please listen again:
Seems weird to you, what has “salvation”, “to love to another person” and the “face of God” to do with the Entrepreneurial Society? The last panel was astonishing for me too. It ended not only in the way an event of us with Dr. Straub once startet with the questions of ethics (NextAct, s. here). But strange enough in this context, the panel discussion ended with accountability to god and it was not only because we had a former bishop (Clayton Christensen) with us. If we do not accept god as a reference, perhaps we should accept at least our accountability. A lot of the new disruptors do not see their “inclusive responsibility”, but offload this to the wider community as Jeffrey Pfeffer criticizes. So why do we glorify that … at all? Sorry for that, I have forgotten love as the better alternative, even the love of ill minded disruptors ;-)
5. From the Entrepreneurial to an Inclusive Society and beyond …?
So it is only logical what happened after the last panel. The Drucker Forum 2016 ended officially with the declaration of the motto of the Forum 2017:
“Growth” and — more important — “Inclusive Prosperity”.
This was the best motto possible for 2017, because the Forum 2016 answered a lot of questions, but it left especially some question of inclusive prosperity (and inclusive responsibility) partially unanswered. Les Miserable is a story of a failing transformation of a non-inclusive society. We have to care for. But exclusion is not our only problem in the Digital Age. In the 20s of the last century the so called futurism finally ended in Mussolini’s fascism glorifying technology more than the human. The new modern futurist may follow them and the new Mussolinis. We are on a good track to repeat patterns of history. Hermann Simon once asked Drucker whether he considered himself more a historical writer or a management thinker. He answered, “more a historical writer.” As Simon points us in his HBR article history does not repeat itself in a simplistic way, but “Nevertheless, it can be said that the human being has changed very little during the known course of history. We gain, therefore, valuable insight … in light of historical analogies.”
So what would have Drucker told us to do? I have no final clue.
But others have some ideas at least.
Roger Martin complaint in Vienna about the (cynical) reductionism of our economic theories and practice. The business of a business is business. This mantra of Milton Friedman dominated the Age of a misunderstood shareholder value Logic. One week after the Drucker Forum Thomas Sattelberger used in Cologne at the Fresenius Business Scholl Drucker (and his integrative approach) and Friedman (and his mantra of reductionism) to iconify the difference that makes a difference. We should not forget that before Drucker the “Wealth of Nations” of Adam Smith and other milestones stood on the platforms of strong ethical beliefs too.
If we understand that loving another person is to see the face of god or at least — for our atheistic sisters and brothers — something of greater value than just a functional role or non-role in our utilitaristic economy, perhaps this would change our attitude, let us develop “inclusive” theories and enable a more inclusive and collaborative Entrepreneurial Society, where the pattern of the heroic entrepreneur of the Digital Economy as a bad mixture of the Uber-Mensch of Nietzsche and the Zerstörer of Schumpeter only satisfies the dark side of our wish to change etatism and bureaucracy.
Is this a naive wish as a lot of events do end with naive wishes after the tough talking about reality, revenues and management instruments and systems? I do not think so, I even think that the better future is already now and it was already now 25 years ago, only not everywhere (William Gibson!).
To understand this I would like to talk about only one other personal story ;-) because beyond the personal aspect it shows us a pattern for the future.
6. “Zufis way” as a pattern for the Entrepreneurial & Inclusive Society
The declaration of the motto 2017 was only the official end. For me the Forum ended three hour later with an Email of my former chief “Zufi”. “Zufi” was not physically with us in Vienna but he connected Santiago Iñiguez de Onzoño, Dean of the IE in Madrid, and me through our relation to Zufi. More important “Zufi”, usually known as Dr. Juan Antonio Zufiria, now chief of IBM Europe, represents a new pattern for the Entrepreneurial Society.
I had the honor to learn from “Zufi”, what New Leadership could be in a small innovation center (Lab 2000) in a small village near Madrid (Tres Cantos). It was not Silicon Valley and it was not Steve Jobs, but it was future 25 years ago: Being authentic, winning the heart of the team, establishing a “WE” by a common purpose, enabling new leaders, accepting autonomy and at the same time being clear in what is to achieve — certainly this helped Zufi not only to lead Lab 2000 in the early years of the New Economy, but later to become IBM Chief of Spain and — some days ago — of IBM Europe too. You can read the full story about him on LinkedIn (s. here) where I wrote about his approach some weeks ago. After Vienna I would tell the story in a different way.
Now I would describe Zufi as a manager representing the Entrepreneurial “Paradigm B”. Belonging to one of the oldest families in San Sebastian (as we say in Germany) he never had to work for the money (only). It was the purpose which made him an entrepreneurial manager and even more important: He was 25 years ago an enabler of a new entrepreneurial thinking beyond himself. On LinkedIn I described how he — during our business lunch - made even the unimportant German trainee think as an entrepreneur.
The unimportant German IAESTE apprentice — by the way — was me.
So future happened 25 years ago and it would be certainly of great value to hear Zufi talk next time on the Drucker Forum 2017 about his approach. But a Zufi is and a lot of Zufis are not enough for our transformation. We need new radically different theories and platforms for different forms of value creation.
7. New theories and platforms for the Entrepreneurial Society
With Heribert Meffert, who is our Phil Kotler in Germany, I have additionally the honor to think about both topics (theory and platforms) on the level of new management of the organization and society. Let us start with society
- Transformation on the level of society
His “Meffert Quadrant” tries to harmonize “Ego” & “Eco” within the new Collaborative Network Economy. It is a more elaborated version of the “reputation” concept of the Creative Capitalism of Gates/Buffet combining it with the “normative” power of the collaborative networks or multitudes of Collins. It is based on the inverse version of Castells pattern of power:
Articulation of the elites,
segmentation and disorganization of the masses
seem to be the twin mechanisms of social domination in our societies
So if masses / multitudes get better organized and less segmented, this really will make “Creative Capitalism” work where it has failed up to know. Even worse: The populism of #Trump and others will “organize the masses” in an unpredictable way if we will not empower people to be organized multitudes. So we should hope that Nicolas Colin will write a book about it in English ;-)
- Transformation on the level of the organization
To understand the fundamental logic behind the “Reverse Castells Pattern” we should have a closer look on the new cybernetics and new mechanism of management underlying this pattern. In the digital age we talk a lot about tools (blockchain, platforms, everybodys experience management, cognitive computing, internet of everything, …) where we should talk more about the new principles and new “Gestalt” operators for the new value creation and try to integrate the new logic into consistent new or established management models (e.g. the St. Galler Management-Modell of Ulrich, Malik et al.).
Digital and other, e.g. “ethical” technology (no Shared Economy without the willingness to share!) will meta-disrupt our existing economic building blocks of separation as we know them. Concepts as market, product, production, organization will disappear or — more precisely — will transform into something “greater” (or smaller ;-), because sometimes smaller is greater). Look for example how a car transforms fundamentally through connectivity, cognifying/ augmentation, collaboration, …: It starts as a “material” product, becomes a connected and shared car and finally ends as a boundless platform in the same way every other building block (market, company, …) will undergo this metamorphosis into a unified logic of collaborative plattforms.
On the level of the organization this transformation will change the pipeline and work division logic into connected platforms of interfusing collaboration where the emergence of one platform (a job to be done!) interacts in the context of other platforms. This new logic will allow an optimized architecture where different platforms will realize different kind of complexity management with contextualization and individualization in the periphery and innovation in the core. Within each of these platforms new levels of productivity are realized through better identifying/matiching, activating and orchestrating the competencies of the relevant networks within or without the platform where actually there is no within or without in the new logic anymore, but only a relative differentiation of the distance, the quality, the intimacy and sustainability of the accesses and relations within the networks. [Even more radical: A new relative, polycontextual logic (e.g. Günther) beyond the early, hellenistic fundaments of our thinking with our absolute ontologies and binary logic will one day arise, which will let us understand the limitations of the silos and other absolute separations of our days.]
- Double inclusion: people and companies
I believe that this architecture is a solution for the exploration/exploitation problem too beyond small bridges or bimodal / ambidextrous organizations. Instead of separated organizations we will have a new cascading architecture where exploration is interfusing exploitation on the level of the value creation patterns. Gisbert Rühl is developing such a cascade for Klöckner (together with the startup platform etventure of Christian Lüdtke, Philipp Depiereux and Philipp Herrmann), where the disruptive startup develops blueprints to be implemented @ scale in the core organization through the reintegration of a part of the startup structure while the other part of the startup keeps its stem cells capability. This way or similar approaches to integrate exploitation and exploration @scale will be viable for the “Hidden Champions 4.0”, who are strong in exploitation and incremental exploration, but have to improve the nonincremental/disruptive innovation too beyond digital Cargo Cults.
So the need for inclusion through a new collaborative network logic is a double one: We have to find inclusive solutions to empower the majorities of the people not only through the Reverse-Castells pattern (Collins!) as collaborative customers/employees but as co-entrepreneurs too. And we have to empower the innovation capabilities of companies through ecosystems of innovation too in order to avoid fundamental frictions in our society!
Epilogue: One job will be done …
The new and better and “inclusive” logic — this is my hope — will find jobs to be done for everybody, so that we can realize an inclusive prosperity@scale.If it does not work, somebody may live the alternative life of my Alter Ego and identify another job as his job to be done using the power of collaborative networks enabled by digital platforms for his “revolution”. With an increasing number of people without a future he will find a perfect platform for such a hightech version of the old conflicts we have seen in the past. With one differences: The collaborative power of the new networks will be far beyond the power of some facebook groups and hate speeches. It will unfortunately realize a totally new quality of threat 4.0. May we live in interesting times!?
PS: The blockchain technology is a technological alternative to overcome the power of the new monopolists. To think about a blockchain based economic architecture would be a good jo to be done. Don Tapscott should join us 2017.