The difference between Inside-out and Outside-In thinking.

A couple of weeks ago we started our look at the difference between Inside-out and Outside-In thinking.

If we scoot to the bottom of the table…. and let’s start with the review of changes to customers

Industrial/Information Age Customer Age

People Silo’s Multi functional
Specialist Multi skilled
Isolated Relationships
Awards – Time served Awards – Value Created
Autocratic Dynamic (to suit the needs)
Processes Doing things right Doing the right things and doing things right
Manufacturing mindset Customer Experience
Tasks/Activities and Outputs Outcomes and SCO’s
Stocks Flows
Products Services
Left to Right, Top to Bottom Customer Centric
IT Algorithmic Heuristic
Hierarchical Hyperlinked
Analytical Understanding
Ownership Access
Strategy Top Down Inclusive
Structured and Rigid eg 5 yr plans Agile and Adaptive
Tablets of stone Continual Alignment to SCO’s
Market/product focus Customer/expectation focus
Customers Uninformed Prosumer
Loyal Promiscuous
Forgiving Rebellious
Locked-In Demand Flexibility
Compliant and managed High Expectations and fickle
Single channel Multi channel

We can probably reasonably observe, without fear of understatement, that the customer has changed forever. The reason our organisations exist, the people who pay our wages, the cause of all the work we do has evolved beyond recongnition.

  • And yet has your organsation changed in response to this evolution? 
  • Do we do our work in a different way from the last century?
  • Is work still flowing top to bottom and left to right?
  • Are we thinking about how our processes connect with customer success? 

In the BP Groups research and experience with the leading companies of the 21st century the answer is … YES, some in fact do understand and act on this new imperative. However the majority, including some previously prestigious names are not getting it. Look at the troubles of Nokia, Kodak, Sony, British Airways, Air India, United… the list is extensive and disturbing.

For our examples of successful transformation and realignment we can include Emirates, Zappos, Zara, Apple, Indigo, Hallmark and BMW. A wide selection from different industries, cultures and operating models. We will get to sepcifics later, for now let’s review the reason for their successful adoption of Advanced BPM, otherwise known as Outside-In. The customer!

If things are changing faster Outside than in you will fail

The acccepted business wisdom until the end of the last century was the adoption and exploration of ideas originally described by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. This seminal work introduced the world to the concept of the sub division of labour.

Written during the advent of the industrial revolution the ‘Wealth of Nations’ created a framework for organising manufactories and people into similar skills and disciplines. In fact the original work in a Scottish pin factory demonstrated 20 fold improvements to productivity and as such became a template for achieving industrial and commercial success. Two and a half centuries later the model is still taught in business schools and academia as the way to structure and organise work. After all it worked for 200+ years?

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them (Einstein)

And there is the rub. The challenges we face in the 21st century are very different to those being addressed by Adam Smith and the industrialists of the Napoleonic era. Let’s get to grips with some of the shifts…

to be continued……

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