Techonomy Tucson

Techonomy Needs Your Input: What Makes a Company Techonomic?

As our annual conference approaches in Tucson, Techonomy Media seeks to broaden its scope and impact. We want to further highlight the opportunities and challenges for business in a world being transformed by technology. We need your help as we crowdsource an important brainstorming exercise. We want to figure out more exactly what characteristics make a company tech-savvy, forward-looking, and resilient. We see every industry’s dynamics being turned upside down by the Internet, by empowered consumers, by data, and by entrepreneurial insurgents. We say every company ought to be a technology company, and like to talk about “techonomic” companies, but what exactly do you think that means? What is a techonomic company?

Should every company utilize social software in management? How important is it that a company develop its own apps? Is there a way every company ought to be encouraging the energies of its younger more tech-savvy employees? How does a techonomic company think about international competition, about the geography of employment, and of product development? Or even: do CEOs need to be able to write software code? Or—let’s be real—should they be able to talk about it intelligently?

These are just some sample questions. We aim in coming months and years to focus more closely on which companies are figuring it out and which ones aren’t. We see it as a big part of our own mission to serve as advocates for a more aggressive and positive incorporation of tech-savvy into every sphere of modern business.

We need your input to suggest other characteristics, capabilities, cautionary elements, and any other thoughts you have about what keeps a company resilient in this exciting but tumultuous era. Please be as specific as you can.

Tell us your thoughts and ideas here at techonomy.com, by logging in via Facebook, Twitter, or Disqus. It will change how we work in the future. (We also hope you’ll watch  live streaming video from Techonomy 2012 on our home page starting at 5pm Eastern time this coming Sunday Nov. 11!)

Click here for a complete video archive of Techonomy 2012.

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  • http://twitter.com/nancychowmein Nancy Xiao

    Techonomic–semantically to me means the convergence of economically sustainability with the limitless potential of technology. Technology can enable some incredibly creative abilities to make customers as happy for the long-term as possible. To extend the conversation from b2c, from b2b, in ways not possible in eras past. You can really see Amazon, Zappos, Box doing this.

    Yet I think one of the strongest ways to build a “techonomic” company is using technology to empower the people within it. A company’s human capital and human values are what turns its wheels–and using technology to instill the right vision, to be more efficient, to make and break things quickly allows your people to surprise you. CEOs should absolutely be able to understand when and where technology deployment is useful, its capabilities and alignment with the company’s own goals and direction.

  • http://twitter.com/gspondy Gary Spondike

    A great example of a Techonomic company is Square. By focusing both on UI and UX Square has presented a model where a merchant can be as mobile as they need in regard to processing the consumer financial transaction. Connect with your clients – anywhere, anytime.

  • http://twitter.com/petervan Peter Vander Auwera

    A techonomic company is a company that can deal with the velocity of change. Technology – like always – is just an enabler. I believe we are witnessing a shift from hierarchical companies to highly interconnected cells of highly qualified professionals. We are witnessing a shift where the corporation is in the center towards a peer to peer economy. All this requires different forms of organization, communication, tapping into knowledge flows, have deep sensory skills in this highly distributed system. Peer to Peer changes everything. Also the people who are leading our organizations: titles and hierarchies are much less important, you probably want to tap knowledge from the people who are at the edges of your system, the people in the front-end, the groups of people that so far were not the obvious suspects: it’s about a different diversity. A diversity of gender, ethnics, age, language, culture. For accessing, curating, processing, and redistribution of this new diversity of knowledge Techonomic companies will need to master a whole range of new tools. The Techonomic company of the future will probably not be an American company. Look east. Looking at the overwhelming US representation of participants at Techonomy 2012, i’d like to suggest to go international with Techonomy. We need you in EMEA, we need you in APAC. Looking forward to another 3 days of brainfood. Every year, Techonomy succeeds in resetting my assumptions. For me it’s always some closure of the year, and a kick-start renewal for the year to come.

  • William Payne

    Well, I guess a culture that encourages the creation of tools for internal use might be a necessary characteristic (but is it sufficient?) – Perhaps also a culture of curation towards intangible assets (software particularly) might be required? Or am I not understanding the question?

  • http://twitter.com/Rensburg Hannes van Rensburg

    I always thought that Techonomy meant using technology in an innovative way to have a major impact on existing economic reailities: changing the rules, the consumer/market behaviour, distribution strategies or pricing/costing… I think it would be wrong to limit technology to only Internet or Social Media. What about chemical/medical or manufacturing/supply chain technology or things like that?

  • http://twitter.com/mickeymcmanus Mickey McManus

    We have beaten creativity and agility out of our children. If they don’t draw a pretty picture of a rabbit when they’re five or six we steer them away from “creative” pursuits. Only to beg for that creativity out of our leaders thirty years later. We send them back to the d.School or Rotman or Harvard when they’re all grown up and try to remind them about abductive thinking and the trappings of human-centered design. It’s a bit like trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

    IBM’s 2010 study of what global leaders think about the kinds of people they’ll need in the future is telling. Above management skills, above financial acumen, above even leadership, they ranked creativity and agility 1 and 2.

    In an exponential world these two characteristics become critical. In all our focus on STEM for the next generation of children, and in our nascent efforts to add SEL (Social Emotional Learning) to the mix we are in danger of missing out on a unifying “game mechanic” that brings agility and creativity to the mix in a structured, human-centered, form. Just as we decided that basic literacy in reading, writing, and arithmetics would be the law of the land over a hundred years ago, we need to focus on a new basic literacy for the techonomic era.

    My candidate for such a literacy is human-centered design science. it factors STEM thinking in the scientific method while also encouraging empathy and resilience that reinforces SEL teachings. More importantly, given that we have now reached a point in society (thanks to that decision a hundred or more years ago about basic literacies) that we can make anything and make it right (just look at the emerging set of tools we all have access to to “author reality”), we must shift our organizational and societal focus to making the right thing. Which at its core implies design *for someone*. I’d rather see the marketing campaign called design thinking give way (and admit that design should not just belong to our cadre of black turtlenecked designers), and the real work begin, in building muscle memory in design science.

    Creativity and agility can be learned, and those muscles can be exercised. We don’t really have time for this to be an amateurish application of processes, thinking the tool is the end of the story, but rather we need fluency in what Herb Simon called “the systematic attempt to change the current state of things to a preferred state”.

    Design will take center stage in the techonomy.

    By the way I don’t think that we should expect all our customers to become designers or all of our employees, or that blind crowd sourcing and co-creation, without an architecture, will do us much good. This is a nuanced challenge. But a basic literacy in such things could go a very long way, we might be surprised at what amazingly creative people we employ if we just gave them a framework and a way to exercise those parts of their brain. And just as there is still a need for mathematicians after a century of arithmetical literacy, there will still be a need for the traditional role that designers play. It’s just that the new game requires organizations to build muscles and learn the karate moves that design science teaches. We need fluency.

  • http://twitter.com/IdeaXplorer JR Reagan

    Techonomy companies use innovation to break social and economic tradeoff constraints. Should someone in Africa have to choose between food and technology? Mobile for example now becomes an enabler for Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Many more examples but all leading to social good, connected planet and better lives.

  • http://twitter.com/IanGertler Ian Gertler

    Wonderful premise and comments here. As I think back to the inaugural Techonomy conference (I attended) and combine it with the various experiences throughout my career, techonomic companies are all about empowering people to collaborate across the organization to become catalysts for innovation and progress. This goes beyond technology; it’s more about connecting the dots between people, data, systems, communities and thinking. This is actually why I recently left my role with a Fortune 50 leader to join an amazing team of folks focused on helping people do more with the groups they work and live with each day (http://www.Kona.com). Exciting times; cheers!

  • http://twitter.com/MWMediaTweets Mobile Wallet Media

    Omni-Strategy is required. What is Omni-Strategy? In regards to tech it goes beyond the Omni-Channels of online, mobile and tablet. Reach must be extended to all relevant mobile platforms, including mobile web. It extends across Mobile, Social and Local and marries it all with conventional and still relevant ad mediums of TV and print. Coupons, loyalty and advertising shall become ever more transactional being tied to payment cards/acounts and mobile wallets. The email inbox is still the hub of all communication. Technology is the foundation for social engagement and fosters organic, seamless and viral commerce. Mobile Wallets shall work to connect this altogether and serve as the gateway to all commerce in coming years.

  • http://www.shoutlet.com Jason Weaver

    If a company wants to stay at the forefront of its industry, it MUST have a smart social strategy in place. While I believe it’s smarter for a company to use a social management tool, at the very least, it needs to educate the entire organization on its goals for social and how involved employees should be. There isn’t the need for companies to develop their own apps simply due to latency issues — there’s not enough time in the day to run your business AND develop a proprietary app as there are good options already out on the market. While the vision of the company and full support of its social strategy should come from the CEO, I don’t believe s/he necessarily needs to know how to code to ‘get it.’

    Techonomic companies are 100% about being tech aware when it comes to social versus tech-driven from a coding perspective.

  • John Hagel

    As always, it is not about the technologies being deployed – technology is merely a catalyst and enabler. The key question is what is that is being catalyzed and enabled? The techonomic companies understand at a deep level how technology is reshaping the economics of business and deploy technology to turn mounting competitive pressure into expanding value creation. While a full answer to this question would require a book (see “Power of Pull”), the short answer is that technology is a key catalyst in intensifying competition on a global scale and accelerating change. On the flip side, technology is a key enabler in shifting companies from a focus on scalable efficiency to scalable learning. The companies who focus on scalable learning as their primary rationale for existence – and who understand that scalable learning means participating in knowledge flows across more diverse and richer ecosystems that extend well beyod any individual company – will be the true techonomic winners. They will turn diminishing returns into increasing returns. So far, the evidence is that most, if not all, large companies are pre-techonomic.