torsdag, maj 25, 2006

Agile networks

Products and processes in all industries are increasingly under pressure to become more agile, flexible and fast. An old note I took down from Mckinsey&Co some years back propels: “New management approaches are required that are centered on speed to increase system performance…..shorter development cycle…….competitive edge comes from crafting the entire company into a single coordinated machine, rather than seeking isolated advances in individual functions” (unfortunately I didn't reference the quote then) . Focusing on speed Mckinsey and the whole row of management consultants advocate the use of multi-functional teams and projects.

Having worked in the arts and later the media industry for decades, it is pretty obvious thatboth design and implementation would be a trademark of the multi-functional teams running projects in the networks I'm part of.
Thus a huge opportunity could be in what could be termed “meta-innnovation”. The media project networks has great creative capabilities – the innovation happening inside single projects is considerable. These agile processes in the projects might be turned into a generalized innovation logic. Innovation process in a typical media project may as process provide a model for product development in other areas. Creating unique products using “agile manufacturing techniques” is the focus of innovation in broad sectors – media have worked with this type of process for decades.
Turning to New Media this is already happening. In 3rd generation web projects (as practiced by some of the pioneering innovative web companies such as Razorfish and Icon Medialab (before they grew biiiig and somewhat stale)) a “web” of actors including partnerships with customers to create new types of value propositions rather than just “web sites”, based on the project organization of the media.

The trick seems to be to somehow formalize these webs. The role of institutions in project organizing is to provide basic societal infrastructure for the projects but also – and more important to mobilize latent networks, so that the muddled interconnectiveness can be replaced with active linkages.
An organization as Zentropa WorkZ may see it’s job as establishing a system in which episodic project collaborations may be formalized into more enduring project networks.

But how - if not through an advanced ownership structure....?

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