Pioneer Entrepreneurs® Dispatches from the Frontier . No. 27

Welcome to Dispatches from the Frontier – perspectives on the Pioneer Entrepreneurs® who are transforming the opportunity landscape. Through our Dispatches, we’ll periodically share our observations regarding people, places, business models, ideas, and trends.

The Only Sustainable Edge

There is much about the "new economy" that isn’t new: there are powerful incentives to specialize; people collaborate in order to achieve goals that are otherwise unattainable; trust is an accumulation that derives from shared meaning and reciprocity and is particularly important in ambiguous environments; and, because proximity facilitates interaction and the development of shared meaning, geography continues to be positively related to specialization and effective collaborations.

Nevertheless, there is very real structural change underway: the information content of business has increased, and, as a consequence, the pace of change is accelerating; there are an increasing number of technological architectures, tools, and practices that make collaboration across geographical, occupational, and organizational boundaries more feasible; and millions of knowledge workers have entered the global economy just as the deregulation of transportation systems, trade, and telecommunications have greatly enhanced opportunities for competition and collaboration.

In today’s environment, argue John Hagel III and John Seely Brown, the co-authors of "The Only Sustainable Edge," the only sustainable competitive advantage derives from accelerated capability building. They see the prospect for a reinforcing cycle of dynamic specialization, collaboration, productive friction, and capability building.

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