Back in the industrial era, business was much more straightforward. Choose a market based on either addressing an unmet need, or simply join the ranks of an established market. You might have offered a slight twist on that of the established players, but it was largely the same offering. Having started the business, you six sigma-ed / lean-ed it to exhaustion in order to maximise the profit. The aim was to create the perfect factory.
But today the market moves too fast for that. Refining your business model over a decade or two is no longer an option. The underlying assumption should be that your business is dead, even if there are not yet signs of it. Planning alternative new business models needs to be part of the current business model.
The only way to test these ‘beyond Plan A’ models is to go live with them. Over time, your business starts to look less like a traditional legal entity / factory and more a portfolio of risky experiments. Regulatory red tape will no doubt make that even harder.
Governing a factory is straightforward. Governing what appears to be a full-tilt ‘start-up farm’ is a different proposition.
Corporate governance in the digital age needs to be revisited and redefined. In the digital age, the greatest risk to stakeholders is the management’s risk aversion.