Integration as a global competitive advantage
Knowledge is content and today the context for knowledge is also: knowledge.
Cut off from context, which could generate true knowledge, content is proliferating and specialization is getting out of control.
If no integration happens hand in hand with specialization, disintegration takes place.
Since the “knowledge worker” finds himself in ever narrower fields and he identifies with what he knows, his perspective is getting narrower.
Leadership is fundamentally an integrating reality that horizontally enables the integration of specialists (management), vertically aligns management along the context which, ultimately generates valuable, true, as opposed to second, 3rd, grade proliferated knowledge: i.e. commodity.
If the education system only adapts to this disintegrating market reality it only contributes the proliferation of knowledge, which results in people (specialists) focusing on the accumulation of knowledge (quantitative process), as opposed to enabling the emergence of leaders, who focus on context/thinking/integration/innovation: qualitative process.
Historically the US has focused on specialization as opposed to integration and when this escalated into offshoring, outsourcing, etc. it financed other countries that will compete against her in the game of specialization.
If the US wants to get back into the game and compete against India and China on their own turf, it has to find a way to own the CONTEXT, or to work with countries who do.
The solution will not come from known sources: C level (specialists), (specialized) academia, and (specialized) consultants/advisors.
It will come from an effort of integration.
The US at this moment can’t innovate.
This may sound shocking in the land of the Valley, but there is a lot of truth to it. It is of course leading on the consumer/social-communications front (like social networks), but that is more of a natural unfolding of social patterns, where the States is just a passive “leader”, rather than break-through innovation.
Most innovators from the States have already gone back to home (India, China) and continue with break-through innovation there.
The States is a sales/marketing/project management/financing machine that is increasingly running empty now. It is looking for new markets in India and China: it needs to sell stuff that surprises the hell out of the people on these emerging markets.
Could it be that innovation that will produce such break-through stuff will come from Central and Eastern Europe?
Example for a possible scenario:
American VCs or Sovereign Funds investing money in CEE countries that are typically under funded (there is hardly any VC activity there), but historically are great innovators/thinkers and instead of exiting here, bringing the innovation back to the States, commercialize it, and exit there. The synergies would be good: there is no sales/marketing/project management/financing experience in the CEE region, but there is everything else.
There would be of course some integration problems to be solved, (eg. cultural integration), but these could be overcome and to some degree even solved.