French historian Fernand Braudel once said that a great city is an inventory of the possible.
For thousands of years, cities have perfected the art of enabling complex social interactions at scale. A city is a social network, and so is a company. But there is a difference.
As companies grow in size and complexity, they become less productive per capita. But as cities grow, they become more productive, by almost every measure. Why?
It’s getting more and more difficult for companies to handle complexity: increasing customer demands for more customization, more convenience, lower costs and faster innovation. At some point the machine breaks down and companies just can’t handle it.
The 21st-century company will have the same kinds of dense, dynamic, and complex properties of well-designed cities: fast pace, high energy, rapid innovation and high productivity. And some companies are doing this today.
In our panel we will talk about who those companies are, what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how it works. We will show you how you can use the same principles to organize your company for a complex, networked, rapidly-changing global marketplace.
Who is worth more — one amazing employee or one hundred adequate ones? You've heard about the war for talent. If your business is looking to take over the world (or just your industry), how do you first build your talent pool? Do you fill your ranks with free-agent superstars, or foster a team of people whose names will never make the marquee, but are skilled enough to make your company a success? Your choice has implications for your culture, and your bottom line. This debate kicked up a tremendous response on the Harvard Business Review's website (hbr.org), but the jury is still out. What makes the world go 'round — individual brilliance or group genius?
9th–13th March 2012