We are witnessing explosive growth from internet first companies going from zero to multi-billion dollar companies. If you visualized their expansion on a chart, you see an almost vertical market trend line. What are they doing to reach success so fast? Sure they have amazing products, they also have a secret weapon to drive customer adoption at an unprecedented level, exponential business models. They use Exponential Era systems to leapfrog competitors.
Welcome to the Exponential Era.
By recognizing that we are doing business in the Exponential Era, you can take advantage of the unlimited potential it offers too, change how you operate, and ensure you stay ahead of your competitors by innovating your processes with Exponential Era strategies and technologies to unleashes a massive increases in productivity and growth. This blog post conveys what the Exponential Era is and how it can transform your business.
What is the Exponential Era?
Technologists, futurists, entrepreneurs, and other thought leaders define the Exponential Era as a contemporary age marked by the explosive, technology-driven acquisition of knowledge and growth that touches almost every aspect of society. The word 'exponential' comes from the Latin exponentem meaning “to put forth.” Like the mathematical term 'exponent,’ the advances of various commercial and social endeavors only increase as time progresses. Several factors have come together to provide the momentum advancing the Exponential Era. It is data-driven and diverse, synthesizing ideas and methodologies from various sources that are scaled using the power of technology, network effects, and data.
The pace and pervasiveness of the change that characterizes this remarkable adoption, until recently, was difficult to comprehend but is impossible to ignore as it is transforming government, education, healthcare, culture, and, of course, the economy.
Understanding the exponential
A consensus is forming across industries and commercial sectors that the available computing power, connectivity, and technological resources can completely transform how we live, work and do business.
The advocates of the Exponential Era, like consulting leaders David Espinola and Michael W. Wright, who are authors of the bestselling book by the same name, assert that the speed and far-reaching scope are beyond traditional modes of thinking and quantification. Rather than linear creativity and progress, the exponential approach delivers leaps and bounds. The only way to comprehend the nature of this growth is to borrow the exponential functions of mathematics for commercial gain.
Entrepreneur and public speaker Dr. Peter H Diamandis puts it this way:
“It’s easy to predict where you’ll end up after 30 linear steps (30 meters away).
But if I asked you to predict where you’ll be in 30 exponential steps — where an exponential is a simple doubling... 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and so on — it gets harder.
In 30 exponential steps, you’ll be a billion meters away – put differently, you’ll circumnavigate the Earth 26 times!”
It is this compelling shift in perspective that underlies the Exponential Era. This outlook challenges the prevalent restrained mindsets and company culture to embrace new technologies and a new way of doing business.
Key characteristics of the Exponential Era
Strategic planning in the Exponential Era is no longer sequential or straightforward. Instead, think about how to leverage your businesses' human, financial, and technological resources for innovative operations and transformative growth. A non-linear approach to leadership and management can allow organizations to evolve novel ways of adapting to the fast-changing commercial and technological landscape.
Moores Law states that the speed and capability of computers will double every 18 to 24 months. It is this exponential rate of technological advancement that drives the Exponential Era. With unimaginable processing power even at the start of the century, businesses, institutions, and entrepreneurs have computing resources to realize ideas and transform lightning speed. In particular, futurists have identified seven technologies that are key to this emergence of this era:
The hallmark of the industrial era has been the centralization of planning, resources management within organizations and institutions. Progressive leaders are answering the Exponential Era by integrating personnel with business functions, allowing businesses to remain flexible by creating cross-functional teams to seize opportunities. Small, modular team and resource distribution in the Exponential Era is standard and mobilized for maximum impact.
Businesses that thrive in the Exponential Era have become adept at exploiting opportunities to transform industries and markets with a non-conventional approach to doing business. Gone is the staid, process-driven approach to doing business. In the Exponential Era, agile enterprises dominate by finding and quickly implementing practical solutions that provide greater accessibility and performance to customers.
The convention does not constrain the organizations that succeed in this new era. The secret of exponential growth is the convergence of multiple technologies that create the “combinatorial multipliers” that accelerate growth. This convergence can transform business and facilitate economic advancement that improves society.
What the Exponential Era means for your business
It can be challenging for traditional brick-and-mortar businesses to perceive just how rapid and pervasive the changes ushered in by the Exponential Era are. Many business owners limit their ability to assess the impact and consequences of these changes and what they need to do to respond to them.
What is readily apparent is the emergence of organizations (many of which are under a decade in age) that are scaling at least ten times better than peers in the same market. These information-driven enterprises, known as Exponential Organizations (ExOs), appear to grow without any limitation by unlocking economic constraints. Instead of having to change course as a result of economic indicators.
Their pace and scale bewilder businesses that operate conventionally, especially as they organize themselves and manage in new and innovative ways. They are even a challenge to the asset owners in their sector, as many of these newer companies access and utilize assets but do not take on the responsibility of owning them.
What makes Exponential Organizations (ExO) different?
A critical difference between the champions of the Exponential Era, the ExOs, and traditional corporations is that ExOs are tapping into the proliferation of information generated by the exponential expansion of the digital world. Competitor businesses in the Exponential Era have learned to align themselves and grow with the exponential advancement of technology.
Thinking differently in the Exponential Era
Accessing scalable growth that the Exponential Era offers, businesses need to change how they approach problems and embrace the integration of novel business models and operational strategies. Thinking different can be highly challenging for leaders who are used to stable, replicable “top-down” operations that deliver consistent profit. But standing still may not be an option in this era of unprecedented change.
Remember, all the while, customer expectations are changing too.
Advancements in infrastructure, end-user hardware, and customer-facing platforms and software have almost entirely digitized the customer experience. The widespread adoption of e-commerce and digitized communication and media consumption via social media has also increased customer expectations, meaning that many businesses now operate on an omnichannel basis. ExOs have proven effective at responding to consumer demand for speed, convenience, and intuition by creating “ecosystems” or responsive platforms and have an unprecedented level of user engagement.
The company vision is critical.
Organizations that realize scalable growth possess an attribute known as Massive Transformative Purpose (MTP). MTP is much more than a company mission statement; it is a culture of aspiration, continually extending in scope and expressed throughout the organization. They are thoughtful, discerning but, most importantly, willing to try unproven business models, technologies, and ways of working to achieve their aims. This taking and experimentation would be unheard of in the industrial and early post-industrial eras, but for the exponential age, it is essential.
Every business can find ways to thrive in the Exponential Era.
Business leaders and owners in legacy industries can utilize Exponential Era thinking or business practices to gain an advantage in their marketplace. Companies of every size need to consider how to integrate novel processes, tools, and technologies into their organization and embrace the opportunity to experience the dynamism and growth that awaits in this new age.