Future Perfect: Tenth Anniversary Edition

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Senteo Rating 3.5
04/27/23
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Author:Stan Davis
04/27/23
views 5961
comments0
Author:Stan Davis
DIAMOND
RATING
Senteo Rating 3.5

Future Perfect: Tenth Anniversary Edition
Stan Davis, Addison Wesley, 1997
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This updated edition of what some consider to be a management classic re-introduces the ideas of how organization and management are based on the premise that time, space and mass are fundamental dimensions of business.

Some of the key ideas introduced back in 1987 include mass customization, real-time organization and any time/any place organization, and the transition to producing intangible products. Davis also introduces the concept of distinguishing between a business and its organization, and how changes in the organization often lag those which are successfully implemented in the business.

The tenth anniversary edition begins with a review of the first edition which underscores Davis’s credentials as a visionary in management. Most of the author’s ideas have become intrinsic to business, while others are still developing. Competing on the basis of speed, for example, is now part of any business strategy. Any time and any place were adopted by BCG to build an active practice around competing against time. Similarly, AT&T adopted a new global strategy termed “anytime, anywhere.” Mass customization has entered business practice, which Joseph Pine wrote an entire book on (Mass Customization, Harvard Business School Press, 1992). His premise of time, space and mass as the fundamental dimensions of business still hold true.

One of the remaining shortcomings of this book is the limited progress in implementing these principles in new organizations (as opposed to businesses). Given all the additional materials and books written on Davis’s original concepts, the lack of progress in these areas seems striking. However, the author does address this fact in his introduction to this new edition, acknowledging that “the organizational precepts are yet to come.”

When Tom Peters called Future Perfect ”the book of the decade” ten years ago it wasn’t hyperbole, it was understatement. This tenth anniversary edition of Future Perfect, with a new introduction and updated notes by the author, is even more relevant than it was when the book was first published. It’s as if we’ve had to move further into the world Davis describes to fully grasp the degree of his prescience, and the wisdom of his analysis. Future Perfect is the book for business readers who are tired of learning the latest buzzword only to find that it’s been supplanted by another. The words Davis asks us to consider are time, space, and mass. When you begin to think of these basic dimensions of the physical universe as the fundamental resources of our economy, the possibilities for creative thinking become infinite. And you find a lasting way of understanding business challenges. Many of Davis’s concepts that seemed  ”way out” ten years ago have become part of our standard way of thinking about business. Everyone talks about operating  ”any time, any place” and ”mass customization,” phrases Davis coined for use in business. Yet, as he points out in his new introduction, while business may be able to scurry to keep up with changes in technology, the economy, and society, organizations can’t change as fast as the businesses they are managing.

The concepts of this book are relevant to any business and have become common terms in consulting as well as business management. For anyone interested in the concepts of mass customization, real-time organization or anytime/anyplace organization, this is essential reading and the original inventor of the buzzwords. It also provides a framework for tying the principles together through the author’s premise of time, space and mass as fundamental dimensions of a business, something others have elaborated upon both in business and the consulting profession.

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Future Perfect provides a conceptual framework for understanding the forces shaping business and many examples underlying the author’s concepts. It is not a book on implementation, rather a theoretical base for identifying opportunities for improvement.

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    Future Perfect: Tenth Anniversary Edition
    Stan Davis, Addison Wesley, 1997
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