Here’s a strange thought: Not very long ago, vertical integration was the cutting edge of global business. Indeed, well into the last century, the companies considered to be at the forefront of innovation were those resting atop the largest and most sprawling networks of operation.
Today’s business leaders stake their success on the opposite model of development. Increasingly, “agility” is the determining factor of market competitiveness, “leanness” its new underlying impetus. The fear of being outmaneuvered in the digital age has sent even cumbersome corporate giants like General Electric scrambling to adopt methodologies from the startup community.
One of the last persistent hangovers from the previous mindset is the presumption of scarcity. For businesses operating under the notion that the resources available to them are fixed and at a premium, the goal has been and always will be to control as many stages of production and distribution as…
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