Standing on the Sun: The Evolving Nature of Capitalism
Capitalism changes as new players enter—that much is clear. But that one, seemingly simple insight has the potential to transform the way we understand the global economy.
While we’ve all been standing on the earth (like medieval astronomers), Chris Meyer suggests that we take a step back, find the center of the system, and learn what’s really going on.
This enlightening presentation, based on research from his fourth book, Standing on the Sun, explores our evolving system—from what it means for competition, to how we should really understand the shift toward stakeholder value, to how the social sector will serve as the new R&D lab. Along the way, Chris takes the audience to the far reaches of capitalism, from the sausage vendors in Southeast Asia, to strange hybrid companies in India, to the head of global multinationals in the United States.
Capitalists thrive by adapting their beliefs, assumptions, and practices when their environment changes. Chris will talk about what the next challenges are and the responses that are already visible in the world’s emerging economies. Insightful and thought-provoking, this presentation will inform anyone seeking to understand the emerging shape of global capitalism and what that shape means for businesses around the world.
The Adaptive Enterprise
Ninety-nine percent of all species ever to have lived on earth are now extinct, and 99 percent of all companies that ever existed are now gone. Chris lays out how, in a world of increasing economic and structural volatility, organizations must become truly adaptive to survive, much less thrive.
Taking lessons from the biological world, adaptive enterprises have the capacity to sense, respond to, and adapt to changes in their environment. The conundrum is that most organizations were designed to preserve and reinforce stability, which puts them at risk for financial or strategic obsolescence.
Chris shows how a new group of companies are putting this adaptive capability into their genes, by examining Capital One, the U.S. Marine Corps, BP, and Maxygen. He proposes six practical business principles that can be implemented today.
Network-based Business Innovation
If most of the great ideas for innovation reside outside the four walls of your organization, how can your company best access and exploit them? Chris makes a strong case for network-based business innovation. The key is in using networks of individuals—both within and outside of your institution—to garner different perspectives on a problem, recombine these perspectives to generate new approaches, and then apply selective pressure to squeeze out the most inventive and useful ideas.
Chris introduces his audience to “WorkNets,” a method of linking these diverse sources of innovation and ensuring they have traction in the enterprise.
"Chris Meyer has a wonderful knack for detecting what's new versus what is merely fashionable."
— Kevin Kelly, best-selling author, co-founder and editor-at-large, Wired magazine
Chris is best known for pioneering new services. Consider:
At DRI (Data Resources Inc, pioneering econometrics-based consulting firm founded by Otto Eckstein of the Council of Economic Advisors), he helped build service architecture for financial institutions that endures 30 years later.
At TBS/Mercer, he founded (in 1984) one of the first consulting groups counselling IT companies (e.g. Microsoft, Texas Instruments, AT&T, Digital Equipment, NYNEX) about industry development and marketing issues—the group was perhaps the first to predict cellular telephone costs would fall below wireline.
At E&Y/CGEY, he directed the Center for Business Innovation and transformed it from an insular university model to a networked research capability, correctly anticipating issues from the "global, mobile, always-on" network to the rising importance of intangible assets.
At Monitor, he developed the strategy for and built the Monitor Networks business, combining his understanding of network science, network technology, and network behavior to help clients and Monitor profit from network-based business innovation.