It is not enough to know how to navigate your company's e-mail and messaging systems or the latest wireless device. Though useful, those skills will not help in deciding whether investing $20 million in a supply chain management system is a good idea. Such decisions require hard-core knowledge and educated, soft-core intuition.
[Technology] must be standardized so that a company's processes will operate in harmony with those of its partners. Managers must make sure that all of their partners are proficient with technology and have a technology infrastructure that will support X-engineering.
OLD TENET: Information is power; keep good ideas inside the company.
NEW TENET: Share good ideas with customers and partners as you search nonstop for better ideas.
[Jack] Welch [of GE] realized that an organization's ultimate, sustainable competitive advantage derives from its capacity to learn, then to spread that knowledge throughout every part of the company, and, finally, to act on new information quickly.
With the aim of achieving that edge, GE broke down its internal boundaries, flattened its layers of management, and destroyed its organizational silos. It became standard procedure for GE people to share good ideas and perpetually search for better ones. ...
Technology has made that process easier for managers today. "Information is available everywhere, to everyone," Welch [says.] ... In a world where information flows freely, [X-engineering challenges] managers to contribute to the collective intellectual inventory of their customers, suppliers, and partners. None of them will want to pay for these ideas; they will simply expect them.
Managers must be open both with their processes and ideas.