Your Future Is in the Hands of Others

19 09 2007

It’s The Network, It’s Your Infrastructure

An interesting discussion is taking place on the ASAE and Center Executive Management listserv about the wisdom of for-profit versus non-profit business models. Good discussion focusing on how to design and deliver what your stakeholders need faster, better and more cost effectively.

But a critical component is missing from the discussion.

Will a change in business model by itself deliver the desired faster, better, cheaper results? If the expectation is to become more streamline and aligned to design and deliver what your members need then it sounds more like an infrastructure or execution problem.

So what if you had a non-profit with a new infrastructure designed to leverage “networks” of people and knowledge in your market that made you more nimble, more accurate at designing product and service that met customer requirements, and delivered them as customers desired?

If you had such an association would it matter what business model you chose?

Wealth Creation Driven from Networks of Open Participation

Readers of os.a know this blog urges associations to consider open innovation , customer experience management, and customer intimacy to re-energize existing practices. Competencies like new product development, customer experience mapping, intangible asset management, and social network analysis will be tools needed in the coming years and adapted to the association world.

A leading thinker in the power and wealth of networks is Yochai Benkler who is perhaps the father of “networked information resource” thinking. Benkler is Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies, Harvard Law School and faculty co-director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

The future is all about how to create open models and practices for creating product and services. Companies like Nike, Gannett, BBC and others featured in previous posts get the importance of this and have created “real-time” customer communities around their products and services. NikePlus is but one example. Gannett another.

If you desire to be able to design and deliver faster, better and more effective product and service experiences, then understanding open innovation and the role of networks in them is super critical.

Listen to Professor Benkler in a 2005 presentation he gave at PopTech and appreciate the importance of the power of networks. Click on the image above to list to the podcast.

Don’t let your competitors create better, faster of more compelling products for your audience by letting them create better customer communities than you.

Remember, it’s all about the network. Your network.

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