John Hagel, co-chair of Deloitte’s Centre for the Edge, based in Silicon Valley, during a recent visit to Australia said that the challenges facing many US companies as a result of technological innovation and globalisation also resonated for Australian companies.
He said that most companies focused on just three main issues: infrastructure, product and customers, but each company tended to focus more on one area than the others. Often that focus tended to be on products.
But Mr Hagel warned that the creative input necessary to fuel faster and faster product cycles was proving more difficult for even successful enterprises to sustain. He warned that “creative talent tends to favour smaller homes” while at the same time “the total cash compensation for creative talent is going through the roof.
“Creatives...are extracting real significant cash to stay in the company.”
According to Mr Hagel a survey conducted in the US found that only one in five employees was truly passionate about their work, and that passion was inversely related to the size of the organisation – the bigger the company the lower the levels of passion.
Asked what this meant for a company such as Apple, which is enormous, and home to an army of creative technologists, Mr Hagel questioned; “Over time can Apple sustain its scale and size if it’s a product company?” While Steve Jobs had had enough creative energy himself to sustain the business over many years, in his absence Mr Hagel wondered whether his passion and creativity had been sufficiently institutionalised in the organisation to sustain the company in the future.