茱莉亞．柯比：嗨，我是茱莉亞．柯比（Julia Kirby）。今天的來賓是常博逸（Charles-Edouard Bouee），他曾在慕尼黑的羅蘭貝格策略顧問公司擔任營運長，著有《輕足跡管理》。歡迎你來。
Julia Kirby: Hi, I'm Julia Kirby. My guest today is Charles-Edouard Bouee. He's the COO of Roland Berger, the Munich-based strategy consultancy, and he's the author of “Light Footprint Management--Leadership in Times of Change.” Welcome, Charles-Edouard.
Charles-Edouard Bouee: Thank you.
Julia Kirby: So you've been doing this really interesting thinking, taking current military doctrine and thinking about how it applies by analogy to the management setting. So why don't we start right there with the military doctrine? Why did the Army War College feel that they needed to rethink their whole approach to warfare?
Charles-Edouard Bouee: I think in the '90s, they coined the name VUCA.
Julia Kirby: VUCA.
Charles-Edouard Bouee: VUCA. V for volatility. Initially, it was for violence, now it's volatility. U for uncertainty, C for complexity -- not to mistake with complicated, complexity -- and last but not least, ambiguity. And this is what they told the future generals that war will be in the future.
Julia Kirby: And, still in the military sphere, what was the right response to that in terms of the military approach to a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world?
Charles-Edouard Bouee: The interesting thing, it took many years for the military to coin the answer to this VUCA acronym. And they coined it into a word called ” light footprint,” which I use in the book, which is the combination of different elements. The first one is the drones. We've all heard about drones, unmanned machines, and to the extreme, the Singularity Project, which is about a machine which thinks. The second dimension is the fifths domain, cyber warfare with the reuse of data. And last but not least is the use of special forces, which is completely different than specialized troops of the past.
Julia Kirby: Ok, so now let's apply this to business management. You make the point that in the business realm as well, we have new VUCA threats in our competitive environment. What are the analogies, really, of special forces, drones, the other elements that you mention?
Charles-Edouard Bouee: The first thing is – we can all agree these days – that the world is VUCA. If we had talked together 10 years ago, people would have said, “Oh, the world is very predictable.” But today, the world is VUCA. So I said that if the world is VUCA, then the answer of the military -- and the world has proven that the military gives some aims to the future. They created internet. They created GPS. They created some of the things we are using today -- then it will apply to business. And the way it's structured in the light footprint management is three components.
The first one is innovation. Like drones, like automation, companies have to digitalize, have to automate, and can use [automation more] to get more powerful. The second element of the innovation is everything around the data. And in data, I would see two paths: the big data and the small data. It's very important for companies to use this. The second element is the organization, which is around agility and special forces -- I'll come back to this. And the last but not least is the disposition around openness, secretness, and the management of collateral damages like in wars.
Julia Kirby: So let's talk about some examples of companies that you've seen that seem like they're doing something like a light footprint management.
Charles-Edouard Bouee: If I talk about openness and alliances, in the past, the cost of transactions between companies and humans was quite important, and therefore we tended to buy companies and recruit people inside. In 2000, the cost of transaction becomes zero. With [information] technology, with the ability to exchange data, it could be seamless to be inside or outside. I push the point that since 2010, the cost of transactions has become negative. And I'm going to give you an example.
One of our clients is in the drilling of tunnels. So his job is to drill tunnels all over the world. And to make money, he has to be as fast as possible. And to be fast, you need to manage all the problems you will encounter in the tunnel drilling. And therefore you need to accumulate a lot of knowledge. They found out that there's a group in France and Asia and America of people who, in the evenings and the weekends, their hobby is to look at drilling [starting] many years ago, and what are the problems, and how to solve them. These people are paid by third parties, and this is their hobby. Our client has been teaming up with them. And since then, he's been able to work much faster in the drilling, much more efficiently, with a cost which is negative, because these people don't belong to his organization.
Julia Kirby: So what's becoming clear is that a lot of companies that today are managing according to some conventional, traditional approaches are going to have to change a lot about their approaches. But what about companies that are startups now? Are they going to be invented along some new model?
Charles-Edouard Bouee: Exactly. The same way the military will have to shift from the tanks and heavy equipment to more technology and more special forces, the people starting today -- I call them LFP- natives --will use the technology, the human power, and all the predispositions I mentioned. And I can give you a few examples. ARM, which is a technology semiconductor company, they were able to reach 95% of the equipment for mobile phones by having this alliance system, this is light footprint approach.
They are 1/50th of Intel, and they are a successful company with a network of 1,000 allies they nurture, for an example. In France, telecom business and mobile operator Free decided to price your product, get into the market, in a very light footprint way, no assets. And now, after one year, they've reached 7.5% of the market share. So we will have a lot of LFP-natives coming in, and it's very important for conventional companies, conventional armies, to prepare and shift to adapt to the new light footprint world.
Julia Kirby: Charles-Edouard, thank you so much for sharing your thinking about light footprint management. This has been fascinating.
Charles-Edouard Bouee: Thank you.