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Finding #3: The “clock speed” of the business world made a massive shift  between 1985 & 1995, changing the way companies think and act about innovation.

    In interactive sessions with several hundred senior business executives (aged 35-65) we asked them to draw a chart that indicated how speed, complexity, and change have affected their business lives between 1970 and today. The results were astonishing. (see chart below) The overwhelming majority showed exponential curves with a point of deflection between 1985 (mostly for Silicon Valley & High Tech companies) to 1995 (primarily more traditional companies, such as Petro-Chemicals). Most companies picked about 1990-1993

      • Implications
        1. In an older, more predictable world, thinking was more logical and linear, predictability was imperative. Strategic Planning was done in 5-10 year projections. Organizations were hierarchical to handle this relatively stable world.
        2. The new, Fastime World requires more flexible, dynamic principles, processes, and structures. Systems need to be more networked in their structures (e.g. strategic alliances, collaborative relationships, etc.). The high level of ambiguity and uncertainty drives decision makers to set broader parameters and place multiple bets on paradoxical futures.
        3. Multiple Innovation Streams become the norm to account for diversity of development from multiple sources. 
      1. Evidence:
        • The charts below show how executives graphed their experience with change and speed over the last 35 years.

First, Executives were given this blank chart
They were told the vertical axis represents the amount of Change plus Speed.
Using 1970 as a base line, how much change plus speed increase have they experien in their world?

For more than 95% of the people, their responses looked like this:

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