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"And LEGO's Digital Designer lets consumers create models, brick by virtual brick, and then its Design by Me offering sends them the exact set of bricks it takes to build the physical model on their family room floor.
While digital technology has been around for quite a while now, those businesses that fully embrace this dual nature of time, space, and matter — the ability to create value through actual and/or autonomous events, in real and/or virtual places, with material and/or digital substances — open up new opportunities never before envisioned, engendered, or encountered. With the full power of digital technology at our disposal, the possibilities are now endless, for they are limited only by our imagination. And of that there is no end."
"Fully one in six of the projects we studied was a black swan, with a cost overrun of 200%, on average, and a schedule overrun of almost 70%. This highlights the true pitfall of IT change initiatives: It’s not that they’re particularly prone to high cost overruns on average, as management consultants and academic studies have previously suggested. It’s that an unusually large proportion of them incur massive overages—that is, there are a disproportionate number of black swans. By focusing on averages instead of the more damaging outliers, most managers and consultants have been missing the real problem.
Any company that is contemplating a large technology project should take a stress test designed to assess its readiness. Leaders should ask themselves two key questions as part of IT black swan management: First, is the company strong enough to absorb the hit if its biggest technology project goes over budget by 400% or more and if only 25% to 50% of the projected benefits are realized? Second, can the company take the hit if 15% of its medium-sized tech projects (not the ones that get all the executive attention but the secondary ones that are often overlooked) exceed cost estimates by 200%? These numbers may seem comfortably improbable, but, as our research shows, they apply with uncomfortable frequency.
Even if their companies pass the stress test, smart managers take other steps to avoid IT black swans. They break big projects down into ones of limited size, complexity, and duration; recognize and make contingency plans to deal with unavoidable risks; and avail themselves of the best possible forecasting techniques—for example, “reference class forecasting,” a method based on the Nobel Prize–winning work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. These techniques, which take into account the outcomes of similar projects conducted in other organizations, are now widely used in business, government, and consulting and have become mandatory for big public projects in the UK and Denmark."
Some emerging-world companies are combining growth with greenery
"A new study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) identifies 16 emerging-market firms that they say are turning eco-consciousness into a source of competitive advantage. These highly profitable companies (which the study dubs “the new sustainability champions”) are using greenery to reduce costs, motivate workers and forge relationships.
The most salient quality of these companies is that they turn limitations (of resources, labour and infrastructure) into opportunities.
Nonetheless, the central message of the WEF-BCG study—that some of the best emerging-world companies are combining profits with greenery—is thought-provoking. Many critics of environmentalism argue that it is a rich-world luxury: that the poor need adequate food before they need super-clean air. Some even see greenery as a rich-world conspiracy: the West grew rich by industrialising (and polluting), but now wants to stop the rest of the world from following suit. The WEF-BCG report demonstrates that such fears are overblown. Emerging-world companies can be just as green as their Western rivals. Many have found that, when natural resources are scarce and consumers are cash-strapped, greenery can be a lucrative business strategy."