Back to the water analogy ... If the old hierarchical or industrial model is referred to as the “Waterfall” model then the new distributed, flatter, network based model could be thought of as the “Oasis Model”. I believe I am the first person to coin the phrase Oasis model with respect to business or software development and the concept (Oasis Model) is remarkably similar in both contexts. The Oasis Model is incredibly flat and efficient with little or no hierarchy. You can visualize the model as pools of resources scattered about the dessert each with their own innate skills and abilities. When there is a project to be developed or delivered that requires different skills the appropriate Oasis pools co join to complete the task. When the task or project is complete the pools break apart again ready to reform with other latent skill pools as required. So what you have is a very flat, highly efficient and focused array of skill pools.
Okay, “Oasis Model” for software interesting, but what in the heck does this have to do with business models? In fact EVERYTHING! Much the same way that software migrated from waterfall to oasis the leading organizations in the “Knowledge Based Society” are adapting their business models. The “Knowledge Based Society” business model is the Oasis, the Waterfall is in decline. This business model migration is in the early adopter phase with perhaps Google being one of the first to adopt the Oasis business model. Google uses something called Googlets to spin off design teams into self contained Oasis pools. Other evidence of this new model can be found in such things as the co-working movement, the entrepreneurial generation and the decline of the hierarchy. Transition in any aspect of the product or economic life cycle tends to be slow and deliberate; however, the current massive economic upheaval could potentially act as a catalyst for rapid, radical change. Those quick to adapt will survive and even thrive, but those that cling to outdated industrial business models are likely doomed to mediocrity and extinction. Just look at the destruction in traditional industrial sectors such as; automotive or pulp and paper certainly poster children for the waterfall and “TV Industrial Complex” models.
The freight train of social and economic overhaul is rumbling down the tracks. Will you get on board, get out of the way or get run over?
Let’s close this series as it began with Charles Darwin’s words of wisdom:
- It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.