Page 20 - CSA Speaker Bulletin September 2016 | CSA Celebrity Speakers
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             The Myth of
      Exponential Change!

Don Strickland is a former Senior         Economists have studied factory         nothing more than what any company
Executive at Apple, CEO of                output, inventory levels, supply chain  experiences when they launch a new
PictureWorks and CEO of IPIX.             metrics, product launches and much      hit product – sales start at zero and
Currently Don is the President and        more looking for hard evidence of a     grow to a large number quickly. Within
CEO of Strickland Associates and          faster pace of business. They found     a few years the exponential growth
serves as Adjunct Professor of            that products aren’t being introduced   becomes linear.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship           more frequently or getting through
at Imperial College London.               the supply chain more quickly. And,     So, why do companies feel that
                                          the odds of a company falling out of    change is happening so fast? It is not
The subject of thousands of               the Standard & Poor’s Index remain 1    because the business environment
         books, articles and speeches     in 20, the same as the last 20 years.   is suddenly changing faster. It is
         is that today’s business         What about Airbnb and Uber, two of      because the flow of information is
environment is changing rapidly and       the most frequently cited examples      increasing exponentially.
that the pace of change is increasing     of exponential change? Aren’t they
exponentially. Cited causes include       growing exponentially?                  This information flow enables us to
globalization, new business models                                                see more of our business environment
and big data, to name just a few. But     It depends on what you measure.         and in real time. The business just
is it true? Is the world really changing  Revenue is growing rapidly, but         seems to “fly by.”
at an unprecedented rate, or is it just   each company’s underlying assets
a convenient illusion that takes the      (business systems, technology, etc.)    Irrespective of industry sector,
blame when a business fails?              are actually quite stable. In their     businesses that become data
                                          case, the exponential growth is         driven are more profitable and
   “Irrespective of                                                               more productive than conventional
   industry sector,                                                               businesses. There are many steps
   businesses that                                                                a company takes to become data
    become data                                                                   driven, but the most fundamental is
  driven are more                                                                 to learn to make decisions based on
   profitable than                                                                correlation, rather than causation. If
                                                                                  there is a high statistical probability
    conventional                                                                  that “A” is correlated to “B” make
     businesses.”                                                                 a decision and take action. Do not
                                                                                  spend the time and money to try
                                                                                  to understand how “A” and “B” are
                                                                                  causally related. It is more important
                                                                                  to make a lot of decisions quickly than
                                                                                  to strive for perfection. In the new
                                                                                  world of data, perfect is useless! n

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