After much internal musing, I have decided that I have a lot to gain from “going public”, as it were, and clearly declaring my interests in dream projects I would like to be involved in, and the kinds of people that I think might want to collaborate on those projects with me.
For anyone who has read my various materials on my “business detox project” (check here, here, and here for some quick background info), you will quickly see that my dream projects strongly intersect with my personal beliefs about how business is evolving (or more accurately, needs to evolve if it is to help us transform our society in more positive ways…) and with my professional views as to what capabilities the “institution of business” needs to develop over the coming decades to drive this societal transformation.
The business engineer in me desperately wants to find real, tangible projects to work on to explore the basic constructs of what I believe are the emerging realities of business and company life in the 21st century. Likewise, the hands-on practitioner aspect of me wants to work in the “real world” where valuable gains stand to be made by those people willing to take on some risk to explore new improved ways to address their business challenges.
Here are my dream projects. If in these descriptions you recognize a problem you need to solve or an opportunity for dramatically transforming your business, then please reach out to me and let’s see if we can help each other…
Dream Project #1: Design a Business Outcome Operating System (BO-OS) for an employee-less business
In my mind, the prototypical business model for the 21st century will be based around a construct of an employee-less business. That’s not to say that we still don’t need to have activities performed to move the business forward, but why is the dominant model one where we essentially purchase an ongoing 40-hours-per-week stream of labour from a single person? This model doesn’t take into account that the trajectory of the business needs will most likely change dramatically over time and that the emerging needs may not meet the skills that I have “pre-purchased” through the traditional employment model. This “needs mismatch” forces a constant re-discovery and re-negotiation process, hampered by static operational constructs like job descriptions, union rules, and departmental structures.
In our emerging business landscape, everything can be outsourced, if we are willing to define the business outcomes we are interested in achieving. So what would it look like to build a company with no employees? It would require the business owner (or the founding team) to describe the specific business outcomes they were looking for, and then go and source possible free agents (or businesses) to achieve them, within negotiated and agreed engagement and delivery rules. Effectively, every aspect of the business could be broken into an intelligently described business outcome and outsourced.
This 21st century company model, then, will stress excellence in business strategy and business outcome description, contract management, integration management, and effective collaboration. The underlying business could achieve a level of flexibility, agility, and economic effectiveness unparalleled when compared to today’s antiquated “employee-centric operating system”.
There are two very different ideal collaborators for this initiative: the first would be an entrepreneur starting a new venture that was willing to take the time required to design from scratch the methodology for building a different kind of company. The upsides of this more “patient approach to building a new company: a fundamentally stronger, more resilient company, and also the intellectual property gained from designing the prototype for a new Operating System for building 21st century companies.
The second possible collaborator would be someone that controlled an existing company that was stuck in a deep rut – possibly in an under-performing, unattractive marketplace, with extremely strong competitors. Here the approach taken would be much more incremental where “describing, dismantling, and outsourcing” was accepted as an appropriate and reasonable management approach to transforming the business.