There was a time when ‘my tanks are bigger than yours’ was the so called competitive advantage. Bigger muscle, bigger reach, bigger advantage. But soon, the tanks became a disadvantage and the maintenance of the tank pool a liability.
The enemy did not have the name of a nation anymore. Or most of the time. The ‘new war’ requires guerrilla, commandos, and a super digital capability. Amongst other things.
That the agile, entrepreneurial and digital organization has a supreme advantage today is hardly news. The problem is that some agile projects look like maintenance of little tanks, faster tanks, cute tanks and wonderful new tank vocabulary. Still tanks.
The solution to ‘the new war’ is both a bit scary and exciting, depending on the day. It reads like this: experiment! Nobody has a good answer but everybody knows that it is not faster tanks.
I am very sympathetic with John Hagel’s (Deloitte Centre for The Edge) position which I will super-paraphrase here: don’t bother (yet) with the tanks at the core. Experiment at the edge (of the company), in those areas than can be easily transformed and do not require a full, big, unmanageable, costly, likely unsuccessful Re-Tank-ing-Programme. More paraphrasing, start in those areas with more pull effect.
So what are we going to do with all those procurement people who know so much about tanks?