Let's start with a hypothesis that, to be honest, sound more like a conclusion: Technology is changing rapidly and continuously. I emphasize this aspect because I see a clear analogy between the fast cycles in the fashion industry and the developments in the tech world. This somehow explains why we can learn from 'la moda' and use their learnings to our advantage.
Create a fashion product is strongly related to trend forecasts from all over the world. Companies have to shape their development processes depending on this information, combined with the ability to interpret that knowledge in their favor. That's how designers create their collections. And remember, fashion products are constantly in an innovation cycle. It's one of the few industries constantly collaborating with trendwatchers simply because it's not economically sustainable to insource that knowledge. Looking for information worldwide is a time-consuming operation and too expensive when distributed to one single company. For this reasons, the trend-watching industry is based on a few models:
Subscription to knowledge
Knowledge via Keynotes
When observing other markets, you clearly recognize that because of the pace of technology and its dependency on strategic decisions, the model is changing towards a similar situation as fashion does. This applies to companies offering services and those making products as well.
The interesting thing to observe now is that other industries are familiar with the two models mentioned above. Keynotes during events and personal consulting are well accepted. The one that's not discovered yet is the subscription to knowledge. But why is that? Well, there might be several reasons:
Companies are used to pay for unique information.
They ask for knowledge only when it's urgent.
They consult specialists only for a specific problem.
Let's try to challenge them with the hypothesis made at the beginning.
Companies are used to pay for unique information. We have to question ourselves if knowledge is unique nowadays. I doubt it. The value lies in the ability to find the right one and the ability to interpret that knowledge to our own advantage. The information about tech developments is a semi-finished product. So, access to the correct data is critical. The right information is handpicked by professionals, able to indicate why it is.
They ask for knowledge only when it's urgent. When there is a slow cycle, this is absolut acceptable, but the need for knowledge is continuous in a constantly changing world. On the one hand, because the innovation processes in a company are cyclical, and on the other hand because expertise is in constant evolution as well.
They consult specialists only for a specific problem. Companies are starting to develop new ways of collaboration. Agile work, in small dynamic teams, asks for a very flexible governance structure. A flexible outsourcing layer is becoming essential for the development processes, and the good news is: it's becoming cheaper. Asking specialists to be part of your teams regularly helps the organization to constantly refresh knowledge and to add the right persons to the right processes at the right moment.
As a service I am a specialist myself and regularly work with several companies. All in different sectors and all in different in sizes. From multinationals to small nonprofit organizations. In the Netherlands and abroad. I can do so because of a few fundamental reasons:
I work on distance with all my clients
We organize our relationship in a community
I constantly update my clients with my knowledge
These three aspects significantly cut off the operation costs, create a constant dialogue and help my clients stay informed in a constantly changing world.
With this way of working, the subscription to knowledge model, which is quite normal in fashion, is becoming a reality in other sectors. I notice that my clients understand the possibility of creating new ways to collaborate and embrace the idea of purchasing a subscription to stay informed about my constant research and reflections on digital transformation and communities. By simply opening a private Space in our community Local Minds.
Just try it :)