15 Doing business in Society 3.0: Transactional, Social or both, an introduction

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    Organizations in Society 3.0 have a drive and an urge to change because their stakeholders know that what is fine today is not probably fine tomorrow. New concepts, new movements, or new technologies are somewhere out there to disrupt you. During my presentations, I always alert the audience of the threat that lies around the corner –outside your familiar playing field – and, to be aware of disturbing, and even lethal, movements.

    In fact, we all have learned this lesson because, in the 1990s, disruptive concepts arose quite frequently with the rise of the Internet, which put the establishment permanently behind. EasyJet and Ryanair have permanently changed the European airline industry, as did other low-cost carriers all over the world. Dell created disruption on the PC market: the consumer could customize their own computer online, which was then delivered to their home. This concept of mass customization was the deathblow for the PC division at IBM, which was sold out of pure destitution (to Lenovo from China).

    Today, you have to be the catalyst of change. As an organization, you have to break through your own equilibrium because if someone else does it, it’s too late. Every organization should engage in a practice of permanent evaluation of their business model because market disruption has become a goal in itself and a much-used tool to launch new products or services.

    For outsiders, it is not always apparent how value is created with all those disruptive business models of successful companies. And if someone asks, “What is your business model?” they actually want to know, “how are you going to earn revenue, while you are (almost) giving everything away free of charge?” This question addresses an important quality of Organization 3.0: realizing a completely new business model, one that will help the organization transform from a link in the value chain to a change agent in the Social Economic Entities in the Mesh of value networks.

    According to Switzerland’s Alex Osterwalder, author of the much talked-about book, Business Model Generation, a business model is “a description of the mechanism about how an organization creates, supplies and keeps value.”

    I believe that “business modeling” splits into a transactional and a social section. Although separating them both may already be old fashioned!