The American version of the British ‘House of Cards’ (book, then TV series), is a fine piece of art. Kevin Spacey is the perfect Washingtonian Machiavelli and his wife the perfect Washingtonian Lady Macbeth. Series 1 had 13 episodes and Series 2 another 13, each of them close to one hour long.
The series will be remembered for its quality and string of nominations and awards. But also for the disruptive thinking of their producers and buyers. The series was bought by Netflix, the on-demand streaming media company. Unlike other TV series there was no pilot. In fact instead of releasing one episode a week – as would happen in conventional TV channels, Netflix released all 13 episodes in one go, resulting, in fact, in a 13 hour long film, twice over!
Many people called Netflix producers crazy. Certainly the TV companies thought Netflix was completely mad, even ‘irresponsible’. Netflix subscribers have since reached 33 million and counting, in the US alone. It’s not only a big success, they have also created a precedent. Many others will follow. The entire economic model for TV sitcom is shaken. For a small monthly subscription of just under 10 US dollar a month, not only can one watch a myriad of movies and TV series, but, in the case of the House of Cards, an entire season in one day. With some coffee.
We could do with some ‘Netflix thinking’ in organizations. For each ‘established way of doing things’ and unchallenged practice, we need to ask ourselves, is there a different way? Better? Disruptive? What if? It almost doesn’t matter whether you have a good answer. The simple discipline of ‘thinking Netflix’ would be fresh air in organizational life.
And the training for this disruptive thinking is cheap: practice the thinking!