Here are the 12 they identify:
1. Shareholder Value as a Strategy. The notion of producing attractive returns for investors is as old as investing, but this was a decade when the pursuit of shareholder value eclipsed too much else.
2. IT as a Utility. The current mania for cloud computing is the latest step in a long process by which enterprises have dispensed with their proprietary glass houses and begun buying computing capabilities as services. One impetus was the Y2K scare, which forced attention onto those onerous legacy systems as the new millennium dawned.
3. The Customer Chorus. Through a range of technical and social developments, customers’ voices grew louder (whether collectively in ratings systems like Amazon’s, or individually through viral kvetches like Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars”) and companies found ways to listen. It’s a true megatrend: the steps along the way have felt gradual and natural, but collectively they change everything.
4. Enterprise Risk Management. Sounds crazy right now to say that the last decade was notable for risk management.
5. The Creative Organization. The decade saw a general revolution in the way many organizations came to view their source of competitive advantage, and a commitment to finding ways to produce creative output more reliably.
6. Open Source. Purist geeks will be quick to point out that the term open source and some very substantial achievements came in the late 1990s, but here we pay homage to the spread of that model beyond software code.
7. Going Private. Cheap debt reignited the LBO scene just as post-Enron reforms created real disincentives to operate as a public company. As the decade wore on, private equity’s playbook for turning around businesses was increasingly held up as best-practice management.
8. Behavioral Economics. Okay, by now, you’re all shouting “that’s definitely older than 10 years” and you’re right. But talk about a set of ideas whose time has come!
9. High Potentials. Consulting firms and other deeply knowledge-based businesses knew this all along, but in the past decade the rest of the corporate world woke up to the fact that some managers are more equal than others.
10. Competing on Analytics. Decades of investment in systems capturing transactions and feedback finally yielded a toolkit for turning all that data into intelligence. Operations research types, long consigned to engineering realms like manufacturing scheduling, got involved in marketing decisions. Managers started learning from experiments that were worthy of the name.
11. Reverse Innovation. The bigger story here is the maturation of the concept of globalization, particularly with regard to emerging economies. Most big corporations in 2000 saw them primarily as a source of natural resources and, increasingly, cheap labor.
12. Sustainability. More than anything, the first ten years of the 21st century will be remembered as the decade that businesses went green — if only in their marketing to a public highly-attuned to Al Gore’s inconvenient truth.
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