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Gnothi Seauton...




There used to be a time when organizations used to grow organically. What that means is, slowly their customer base would increase, they would expand into a new geography, launch a few new products, improve their capabilities and grow over a long period of time, sometimes generations. If you look at the statistics, that doesn't happen very often these days. The number of mergers and acquisitions world wide in 1985, as per the Institute of Mergers, Acquisitions & Alliances, was $347 billion USD. It rose to $397 billion USD in 1991, It was in the range of $5000 billion in 2020. And while I see a little decline in hte last few years, it could be because of the pandemic situation. But if you look at the long range trends, in-organic growth has increased exponentially.

While mergers and acquisitions allow organizations to acquire huge capabilities within weeks, capabilities that would have taken years to build, integrating these capabilities is an entirely different matter altogether. Capabilities, functions, processes, people, applications, data, systems technologies all come together overnight and have a huge potential to make a mess. Got a fix...? Do you remember the sweet screeching sound of the dial up modem? If you do, then you, like me, have seen a revolution unfold right in front of your eyes. We probably started our career working on desktops. Today I know people who have never worked on a desktop machine. Dial up internet was a luxury that we could connect to once a week perhaps for half an hour to download emails. Then came laptops. And then tablets and then internet connected smart phones. And now there are healthcare organizations that rent out their MRI machines to small multi-speciality poly-clinics and charge them on a per use basis, because their MRI machine has the capability to talk to an application hosted on the cloud, keeping track of usage and reporting on diagnostics and service requirements. Your refrigerator is having scintillating conversations with your door bell and is posing and incredible business opportunity, but only if you are willing to look at it with intent.

There is an explosion of internet connected devices. What was just 3.6 billion across the world in 2015 is now at 14.5 billion and is expected to breach 30 billion within the next three years. We are looking at a trillion internet connected devices as close as 2028. How are you going to manage these communications? How are you going to keep track, diagnose, build applications for these devices? Got a fix...? Gnothi seauton or Know Thyself is one of the three maxims in the ancient greek temple of Apollo at Delphi. The other two being

  • "Nothing to excess" - teaching moderation in everything and

  • "Certainty brings ruin" symbolizing self-doubt as the cornerstone for learning .

While those two also have deeper meanings too, for me in corporate strategy, today I talk about the first one. These maxims have been interpreted in may ways by many philosophers including Plato and his prolific student Socrates but I find the simplest interpretation of the first maxim, the most profound. Self-Knowledge is the key to agility, efficiency, creativity. That's the fix. Do you feel I am leaving you with an enigma? Well, watch this space.

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