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Vlog: The SMI research agenda into The Corporation of the Future

Updated: Sep 7, 2023


Introduction

The recently published book The Corporation of the Future (Routledge, 2022) was built upon a number of specific projects, conducted to explore concepts leading to the future corporation. A backcasting methodology was utilised to identify the point of departure represented by the future corporation (mid 2040) and connect these developments back to the business conditions of today. The projects were conducted to make this depiction of the future corporation, from the different perspectives presented in the book, as robust as possible. The analysis presented in the book provides a focus and foundation with which strategy practitioners can engage colleagues in discussion of strategic issues and obtain insight for current strategic analysis of relevance today.


The situation and scenario analysis in the book provides key concepts, through which organisational capability can be developed and energised. One such valuable concept is that future corporate leadership will need to lead the management and optimisation of a portfolio of Corporate Collaborative Systems as opposed to a Portfolio of Strategic Business Units. This concept is presented in Chapter 3 of the book (Strategic Foundations of the Future Corporation). Of course, it is important to emphasise that such a claim is not a prediction, but rather a depiction, based on anticipated extensions of existing trajectories and insightful judgement. Whilst challenging, such concepts are worthy of attention as the future of business unfolds.

The SMI’s Research Agenda


The SMI will continue to monitor and report on the evolving depiction of the Future Corporation through surveys, webinars and podcasts on the topic. Observations from our research and contributions from others in our webinars will also be presented in short videos and more detailed audio podcasts published on the CSOsandbox Podcast Channel (www.csosandboc.buzzsprout.com). Our goal is to assist with informed future decision making for all who are interested in participating. Participation is open though participation in the surveys and the podcasts.


SMI’s ongoing research is based on the framework provided by the Third Wave Strategy concept. Born out of previous SMI research and the importance of encouraging business to move on from outdated strategy practices, Third Wave Strategy consists of four key elements, as illustrated below.


In keeping with the practice of backcasting (refer above) all webinars following the Future Corporation research agenda will seek to establish possible and plausible perception of the future. No attempt will be made to predict a certain future as the future is impossible to predict. The discussions will commence with observations of current trends and practices in order to establish a grounding for the trajectory from the future, back to today.


Webinar format: The webinar will be conducted in the following stages:

Stage 1: Introduction to the topic

Stage 2: 10 min discussion rounds consisting of:

i. Opening gambit: E.g., What are your thoughts on the concept of Third Wave Strategy

ii. Open discussion: Implications for Future Corporation

iii. Questions and answers

Stage 3: Conclusion and intro to next webinar


Webinar 1: Topic: Integrating Social and Environmental Sustainability with Corporate Strategy


Date: Tuesday, 12th September 2023, 18.00 Hrs AEST


Introduction: This topic is drawn from Chapter 2 of the book, The Corporation of the Future. It is also the first element of Third Wave Strategy (Stakeholder Engagement) illustrated above. The research topic is grounded in the observation that a rebalancing is underway in the corporate world. Specifically, corporations are reacting to a new trajectory whereby environmental sustainability and shareholder returns are becoming equal imperatives in the makeup of corporate strategy.


Précis: Social sustainability involves considering the impact of business operations on communities, employees, and other stakeholders. Accordingly, companies are prioritising fair labour practices, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement to build strong relationships and foster trust. Similarly, the demand for action on environmental sustainability focuses attention on minimising ecological footprints and promoting conservation. While these transformations are underway however it is imperative for all corporations to remain financially viable, there is no room for error on that front. The integration of each element of stakeholder value not only enhances brand reputation but also drives long-term profitability. Environmental and social inclusion appeals to conscious consumers, attracts top talent, and mitigates risks associated with climate change and social unrest, while recognising the importance of financial responsibility.


Questions and answers: “How can Social and Environmental Sustainability be integrated with Strategy to achieve desirable outcomes for all stakeholders?”

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Webinar 2: Topic: Strategy as an integration of Social and Technical trajectories

Date: Tuesday, 10th October 2023, 18.00 Hrs AEST


Introduction: This topic is drawn from Chapter 3 of the book, The Corporation of the Future. It is also the concerned with the second element of Third Wave Strategy (Cognition and Change) illustrated above. The research topic is grounded in the observation that increasingly, the boundaries of sociology and technical capabilities are merging. This phenomenon is referred to in the book as socionology.


Précis: The term socionology encompasses the idea that interactions between people and the systems, tools, and processes they use combine to achieve organisational goals. On the social side, strategy involves understanding and managing the dynamics of human behaviour, relationships, and culture within an organisation. It requires effective leadership, communication, collaboration, and the alignment of employees towards a common purpose.

Social factors such as organisational culture, employee motivation, and stakeholder engagement play a vital role in shaping and executing strategy. On the technical side, it involves analysing data, market trends, competitive landscapes, and making informed decisions based on quantitative and qualitative information. Technical aspects of strategy include setting objectives, formulating plans, utilising technology, and implementing efficient processes and systems.


Questions and answers: “What impact will Strategy Both Social and Technical have on the Corporation of the Future?

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Proposed future topics:

• How are Social and Environmental Sustainability Integrated with Strategy?

• Do Business Ecosystems Make Sense in a Post-Covid Environment?

• Using Value Systems to Drive Responsive Strategy

• Global Social Changes Defining the Future of Business

• The Future of Government and the World of Work

• Government and Governance as Business

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Findings and observations: Research results will be published on our website www.smiknowledge.com and introduced into our work programs (www.phsandl.com) and our organisational strategy learning and development platform the CSOsandbox (www.csosandbox.com). We will look forward to and thank you in advance for your engagement and contributions.


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