Reinventing Business

The challenge of the Compression Institute is to find adventurers willing to reinvent some basic concepts of business, for real – by actually doing. In effect, they would “put to sea” not in big cruise ships, but in little boats closer to reality. That’s what we’re looking for in Action Learning Groups.

A cruise ship disaster is analogous to current business thinking. More overconfident than the crew of the Titanic, the captain and crew of the Costa Concordia recently ran it on the rocks off Giglio, Italy. Early accounts suggest reluctance to respect nature, recognize disaster, and order any abandon-ship plan. (Can’t be happening; ignore.)

Unless well schooled and disciplined in readiness, few of us are different. Being human, we dislike being interrupted by so much as disaster drills unless we think that disaster is both probable and immanent.

The Costa Concordia shipwreck was a sudden, dramatic analog to the slower-developing risks of Compression. The psychology of its captain and crew is similar to our psychology assessing Compression. Consequences are painful to think about. Business doesn’t reward thinking about them. Profits are the rewards. Losses avoided are not. By that logic, long before environmental risks affect us personally, business risks can do us in financially: price points off target, agents confused about our product, dull ad campaigns, etc. So concentrate on those issues. If possible, buy insurance for other risks so we are not distracted from core business issues.

Global resource shortages and environmental risks, easily seen in a global context, are harder to relate to local conditions, and especially difficult to monetize in business models the way we think about business today. That’s why we seek a few daring leaders willing to create examples that others can learn from, by being very effective with the stakeholders they serve while dramatically reducing use of resources and environmental hazards doing it. Their business model would center on Compression Thinking. Anyone care to step up to that plate?

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