February: CEOs only tell short-term stories; tech businesses come up short; IKEA offers a peek at its future design; GM arms itself for car-sharing battles; and libraries check out co-working.
While CEOs complain that investors and markets pressure them into short-term decision-making, research into earnings-calls transcripts shows that most CEOs wait until the Q&A part of the call to talk about long-term strategy, and then only once analysts ask about it. Our take: long-term strategy means exploring and designing new business models.
As we say, business models don't last as long as they used to, and this article points out that technology companies face the shortest lifespans of any sector. The "key to enduring growth is strategic transformation", says this article — or as we say, the new strategic imperative is business model exploration and design.
IKEA's head of sustainability says Western consumer demand for home furnishings has peaked. IKEA's plan: work on solving the "distribution issue" posed by selling to non-Western markets. In response to falling consumer demans, IKEA may also move toward sustainable products: “We will be increasingly building a circular IKEA where you can repair and recycle products." Our take: We're interested to see if IKEA creates a new business design it can assemble.
GM's recent $500 million investment in Lyft and acquisition of Sidecar brings people and technological capabilities GM needs to innovate its business model. Aside from Uber, GM and other major car companies also face competition from a "known unknown" — tech companies like Apple and Google that plan major automotive plays. Our take: GM is on the right track by bringing new capabilities into its sandbox.
Two thousand years ago, philosophers and mathematicians solved the problems of their time by collaborating in their "co-working" space: the famed library in Alexandria, Egypt. Arizona State University researchers think libraries could regain their role in the innovation process, and will soon roll out a network of co-working business incubators inside public libraries. The project could refresh the library business model in the "post-book" age, and also democratize entrepreneurship by making resources and knowledge available outside innovation districts. Our take: This story is well worth checking out.
Photo by Kat Northern Lights Man, via Flickr