Days of competition numbered

As the world teeters on the edge of another financial meltdown, innovative players look for opportunities within and beyond the crisis, for ways to do things differently in an emerging new economic order.  Foresight practitioners like Venessa Miemis claim that the “superfluid economy” is already here, a world of accelerating change, growing collaboration and connectedness, shifting definitions of money and the decline of competition in favour of “coopetition”.  In the heat of the last global financial crisis, trend-watchers like Umair Haque, author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business, urged world leaders to rethink the very definition of growth. The current market turmoil shows little has changed – yet. “Today’s leaders are plugging dikes, bailing out industries and banks as they fail,” he wrote in 2009. “Yet, what negative global growth suggests is that the problem is of a different order: that we have reached the boundaries of a kind of growth.” This century’s successful economies will be powered by what he calls “smart growth”, relying on outcomes, not income, connections instead of transactions, people and not product, creativity rather than productivity. The leaders in this new paradigm will junk competition-based strategy altogether, say Blue Ocean Strategy co-authors W Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. They will head for “untapped market space, demand creation, and the opportunity for highly profitable growth”. Some of these unknown markets are created well beyond existing industry boundaries; most are created by expanding existing industry boundaries without heeding the competition. As the authors put it: “Competition is irrelevant as the rules of the game are waiting to be set.”


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