The Digital Conglomerate
A look back the prescient article co-authored by Don Tapscott: Digital Conglomerates: Setting the Agenda for Enterprise 2.0. The article, which has never been released publicly before, looks at several innovative companies of the time:
Google uses its Maps application to help design self-driving cars. GE uses data from its medical electronic equipment to design population-based predictive models for actuaries. Amazon turns its demand-driven distribution centers into cutting edge venues for robotics innovation. In so doing, these companies design tech-driven innovations that combine multiple distinctive knowledge sets – on a massive commercial scale (maps that inform car designs, heart monitors that inform insurance policies, retail sales that inform robotics).
To call Google, GE and Amazon technology companies misses the point. Google is in all sorts of sectors including advertising, social media, navigation, car design and robotics. GE is in appliances, healthcare, aerospace and professional services. Amazon is in retail, computer services, robotics and logistics. A new species of business is beginning to revolutionize almost every industry and the economy itself. Digital conglomerates use their massive cross-domain capabilities and information advantages to innovate, increase market share, and enter entirely new markets. In this respect they are quite unlike vaunted peers like Facebook, let alone niche players.
Digital conglomerates will be the dominant enterprises of 21st century economies – and function as role models to Industrial Age conglomerates like General Motors, AT&T, and Exxon.
Perhaps 10 years from now people will look back on Blockchain Revolution, struck by its profundity.