.: on the frontiers of venturing and venture investing :.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The influence of open in venturing.

So what does 'open' mean for 'venturing' and venturing on 'the frontiers'.

From some prior definitions, venturing is process of creating and evolving a venture, where a venture is an agreement among people to do things in service of a purpose and according to a set of values. More simply it's about the process of organizing resources (social, financial, and human capital) toward realizing a certain intent.

If 'open' really is about a new mode of organization, then it is central to the process of venturing. It will inevitably impact every venture, the leadership and culture required, and the way in which we go about it.

Where strategy has been a dominant management driver in the past 3 decades, design will require greater attention. Conventionally, the control of financial and intellectual capital allowed organizations to directly control action and influence outcomes. In open, social and human capital are more dominant factors. They are also inherently less controllable which means we have to pay more attention to the design of systems versus control of action to influence outcomes and fulfil the organization's purpose.

If this shift to 'open' is truly a product of the evolution of our society, as I believe it is, then this is inescapably important.

Furthermore, ventures that are themselves focused on the evolution of our society toward a just and sustainable state have to pay particular attention to open. These frontiers are necessarily about dealing at the edges of our current systems and structures - the turbulent space where 'open' is most effective.

Pulling this together - venturing on the frontiers requires a focus on:

  • social and human capital
  • a shift in culture, values, mindset, and leadership
  • systems design
That said, this doesn't mean it's time to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Strategy is still a useful tool, and we are still in the midst of a culture dominated by the conventional mode of organization. What it does mean though is that the compatibility of our underlying organizational culture, values, mindset, and leadership will determine the ability to make the most of convention in context of where we are going.