What have been the business ideas and trends that have marked the last decade? At Harvard Business they have compiled some of the most influential. They are of all kinds. Some have had positive effects on society. Others have had their share of responsibility in the current economic crisis.
The fact is that some of these ideas are still revolutionary and will continue to be talked about in the future. It is worth doing a review:
Generate shareholder value as a strategy
The notion of generating attractive returns for the investor is as old as the investment itself, but it has been in the last decade that the objective of generating value for the shareholder has eclipsed all others.
Management focused on generating value brought the share price to the heart of decision-making. However, in 2009, Jack Welch , one of the best-known proponents of the concept of “generating value”, confessed that the idea did not work exactly like this:
“Generating value for shareholders is a result, not a strategy. The essential elements are your employees, your customers and your products ”.
Technology as a tool
The “phantom” threat of effect 2000 put us all on guard against the growing weight of technology in business structures.
The Cloud is just the last step in a long process in which companies have been able to use software tools in service mode: at low cost, paying for use, without the need to build an infrastructure, and without having to hire specialized technical personnel .
The web 2.0 and the opinion of the clients
Thanks to the development of web 2.0 -the new technological platform- the voice of the customer has become increasingly powerful, both at a collective level -with Amazon’s rating systems, for example- and at an individual level, with suggestions, complaints and proposals that are no longer lost in a vacuum, but find an echo on the Internet.
Businesses have discovered more and better ways to listen carefully to their customers.
After the economic crisis we have experienced , which still sounds viviendo- a joke to talk about risk management or risk management. But the truth is that risk management – a strategy designed to avoid risks or reduce their effects – has been one of the rising trends in recent years, especially since 9/11.
The creative organization
If in previous stages companies focused on efficiency and productivity as sources of competitive advantage, in the last decade we have observed that many businesses have placed creativity as the main engine to generate value.
We have passed from the Industrial Age to the Age of Knowledge, and that is why today we need values such as collaboration, talent, flexibility and creativity.
Although the concept of “open source software” began in the late 90s, the great expansion has come in recent years. At the origin is free software, free applications created by the community, which can be freely changed and distributed.
Due to the market push, this initial seed gave way to the OpenSource concept, which does not have to be strictly free, and which has generated new forms of business: there are companies that charge user licenses, although they allow the subsequent modification of the code; others freely distribute the application, but then charge for the support service; some offer a free version and charge for the “premium” version, or for custom developments; many others, following the initial spirit to the letter, offer an absolutely free product, and allow its free modification and distribution.
Venture capital funds and Private Equity
Investing in venture capital funds has been one of the hallmarks of the last decade. In principle, the now famous Private Equity can be used to finance business projects, although the ultimate goal is to obtain a higher return than the Stock Market. The most common operation consists of selecting a company that is already mature and not listed, acquiring a percentage, making it more profitable by providing professional managers and, when the time comes, making a divestment through, for example, a sale to third parties.
High potential / high potential
Consulting firms and knowledge-based businesses already took this into account, but it was not until the last decade that many companies have discovered that some people have great talent and it is essential to promote it.
These companies have developed programs to detect talent, promote it, and retain it. Executive coaching has become a discipline on the rise.
The power of data analysis
Technological development has given us the tools to transform data into intelligence. As the years go by, we have more and better information to make business decisions. The problem is that the information continues to increase exponentially.
The outsourcing of services considered non-core for a company has been one of the constants in recent years. One of the most relevant outsourcing has been technological.
The ruling powers viewed emerging economies exclusively as a source of natural resources and cheap labor. But, in recent years, countries like India or China have become a gigantic market, with a rapidly growing middle class. Several companies are setting up their centers not only for manufacturing, but also for development and innovation in these emerging economies.
The first ten years of the 21st century will possibly be remembered as the time when companies went “green” (at least, in theory). It is clear that there is an important marketing component in all this change, but we must not detract from it. Many companies have made an important effort that, from now on, will have to be more and more demanding.
Web 2.0 has completely disrupted the scenario in which we operate, creating new ways of generating value based on collaboration and shared knowledge.
The experiences of Wikipedia, or of the software made by the community -Firefox, Openoffice, Linux- show that together we can build Collective Intelligence. The decision-making and participation capacity of the user is increasing.
What has been the most important business idea for you in recent years?