Invention (Innovation), Not Strategy Creates Renaissance. Most Darwinian concepts does not engender to developing creativity, and so to innovation. Instead it is about strategy for developing dominant position, this is not a sustainable model as history has shown. Instead, Enterprise Architects should begin reinforcing energy into lost opportunities in innovation and explore to create newer territories.
In the recent times, we saw the fall of Michael Porter’s ideas around corporate Darwinism. His company during the past two decades influenced the CEO’s with trickle down ideas and C level were enamoured by it, as it helped them device system giving them enormous clout. Suddenly the landscape has changed, the market response has been very different, from what the CEO’s sought. This is because Darwinian theory does not sustain. Inorganic decisions are not working. From recent HP’s fiasco (Autonomy acquisition), it is much evident how corporates are massively faltering. Decade back, Carly Fiorina then HP’s CEO sought EA framework based on Darwinian adaptive principles as a way to achieve business enablement. It has not worked. It is now exactly a decade since she introduced. Theories developed on Darwinian dominance has been flawed and it is now much evident. Porter’s company recently declared bankruptcy. Those ideas are history.
What killed Michael Porter’s Monitor Group
Check out interview with Carly’s Darwin EA framework to create adaptive capabilities.
Based on flawed ideas, corporates employed resources targeting to achieve market dominating capabilities. Against this landscape, IT unfortunately has been delivering diminishing return. To overcome the value struggle that IT could offer, various schemes in the industry has been probed. Especially, TOGAF itself has been maturing to develop dialogue for IT from being across LOB service provider, cost to profit center, to more ambitious as business enabler. The argument of Nicholas Carr’s IT Does Not Matter when seemed almost true, ideas around creating EA driven strategic operating model emerged. Jeanne Ross book on EA as Strategy – Achieve Competitive Advantage
These ideas are getting outmoded. The essence of creating sustainable business model is to keep throttle on innovation. Challenges still remain to solve or probably discover newer opportunities by innovation that creates generative system, which intrinsically allows for emergence.
Check out Jeanne Ross discussion on EA – IT in context of business transformation
MIT’s Ross on How Enterprise Architecture and IT More Than Ever Lead to Business Transformation
In my mind, even Jeanne dwells on conventional wisdom. She is not discovering newer landscape. She discuses to improve the leverage to achieve strategy for transformation. The question is why/ which / what / where/ when strategy and how transformation and finally what outcome??
Dealing with thoughts like these, EA is not a domain of IT alone. EA is an integrative subject that brings together several disciplines to solve both macro systemic and micro functional concerns. EA can be used to reimagine and repurpose architectures including those realized by IT.
Another concern that EA must tackle in its value proposition is the value it can help achieve at system level. The GDP related to digitization has been in the increase. However, what is not evident is the “productive” impact of the digitized portion of the GDP. Meaning what activities in the digitized world are essential to mankind’s survival, are productive GDP. Innovations are required in increasing the potential of the productive GDP driven by IT. This argument is crucial.
In my view, EA can offer a great leverage to reimagine future, besides achieving leverage in the existing operating model. In pursuit of such mission, EA does not belong to “IT” alone. What we need is generative and not mere adaptive transformation efforts. It is in generative system, where integrative disciplines will work to allow for tacit knowledge creation. It is this tacit knowledge that will trigger emergence of newer opportunities, creating emergent architecture.