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The Future is Open

[Via Gizmodo]

Interdependence isn't only desirable for individuals - it's how the corporate landscape is developing as well.

Increasingly companies are realising that they can't be all things to all people. Indeed, that it makes sense to outsource doing most stuff to experts and focusing on what they are best at.

In some ways this is nothing new - the Coca-Cola Company sells only syrup to bottlers  -  it is primarily a marketing organisation, because that's what it does best. [Although the decision was originally made because it couldn't afford to build the factories, back in the day.]

In Japan, interdependence and allegiance have been enshrined in kerietsu since the country bootstrapped itself into an economic powerhouse following WWII.

The successful corporations of today are increasingly open. This is especially true of technology companies - open platform APIs are the foundation of the web 2.0 mash-up - by giving people the keys to your kingdom, they can build on your foundations and create something new, increasing the value of what you have made.

Part of what has allowed Facebook to overtake MySpace as the web brand du jour is the fact that it opened itself up for 3rd party applications, leveraging a distributed network of individuals, agencies and start-ups to make it more useful.

This is the territory Nokia are claiming in the handset space in these new ads above. As Gizmodo point out, this is also a dig at Apple, because Apple represents an anomaly in this new open corporate world - they don't currently support 3rd party apps on the iPhone.

Despite being being the most loved technology brand, they are the antithesis of open - they provide end to end solutions, software and hardware, product and services and because it all works so well as yet this hasn't been a problem.

But as the world becomes more complex this leaves them open to coopition - their competitors working together to challenge them. Imagine a world of interoperability, where on once side you have Apple [or Sony], standing alone, trying to provide an increasingly diverse  suite of proprietary solutions that only work within the brand, and on the other, open multi-brand platforms that allow you to make your choice but have things work together.

[This reminds me by analogy of clients that become religious about their brands, becoming irate if you turn up to meetings sporting competitor brands. The idea that I'll only ever buy Apple will apply to very few.]

This model also applies to communication agencies working with specialist partners in collaboration to deliver solutions, rather than trying to own the means of production in an increasingly complex communication world.

The future is open.