Amazon aligned
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Power& tradition holding back progress
This page uses an example to illustrate how:
  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
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The constraints are described. 
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Amazon aligned

Summary
In this page we use CAS theory to review the asymmetric challenges of the retailer Amazon. 

Introduction
Amazon understood a key opportunity of the Internet early on.  If you can browse for details of books you might want to read online and then seamlessly purchase and obtain your selections you have an interesting alternative to a book store.  Adding near infinite inventory with low prices to the offer tilted the competitive advantage to Amazon.  But to deliver on this formula Amazon had to develop a low cost supply chain coupled with superb supply chain management systems. 

The power of a new weapon and an aligned strategy 
Amazon moved early to develop great web infrastructure to make online book buying a pleasure.  It coupled the new competitive weapon of web software with a new strategy of how a book seller should operate using this weapon.  And then it added extra strategies to keep its competitors reeling. 

The Kindle allowed Amazon to extend its web site relationship with users to the selection, delivery and e-reading experience. 

Its competitors were left trying to cope with:
  • The added costs of physical book shops,
  • A lack of experience of building great web sites and supply chain planning systems
  • No technical understanding of e-readers

Amazon's core skill set naturally extended into adjacent technologies, and supply chain infrastructure.  This transformation increased the strategic pressure on its competitors.  And then the Amazon prime
This page reviews the strategy of setting up an arms race.  At its core this strategy depends on being able to alter, or take advantage of an alteration in, the genome or equivalent.  The situation is illustrated with examples from biology, high tech and politics. 
evolutionary amplifier
provided further strategic leverage, even presenting Wal-Mart with a potential threat. 

The constraint caused by phenotypic alignment
But the New York Times 16 August 2015 article "Amazon's Bruising, Thrilling Workplace" highlights one challenge for Amazon and the Fire phone another. 

For me the New York Times investigation illustrates how
This page reviews the inhibiting effect of the value delivery system on the expression of new phenotypic effects within an agent. 
extended phenotypic alignment
constrains the operations of Amazon's value delivery system.  It shows:
And so the disastrous investment in the fire phone becomes of no surprise.  Who would tell the senior managers, with so much power over them, that the executives were wrong about the attractiveness of the phone offering? 

Competitive horizontal solutions will emerge
But these are problems of too much success.  Soon Amazon will have to ensure that its end-to-end model can perform as well as competition built from a set of horizontal partners.  Amazon will have to leverage synergies from its value delivery system.  Its apparently combative workforce will have to cooperate and identify ways to counter competitors.  Competitors who highlight the conflicts of interest inherent in Amazon's business:
  • Microsoft Azure web services can assure Amazon competitors that it is not hosting Amazon's internal business infrastructure. 
  • Apple, Microsoft and Google phones and tablets will use Moore's law to chip away at the Kindle e-reader hardware advantages while applets will provide creative alternatives to the reader and its book delivery mechanism.  The Kindle could easily become a costly anchor that Amazon will have to invest in to defend. 
  • Supply chain management specialists like Wal-Mart will seek to undermine the investments that Amazon is making in physical warehousing. 
Possibly the New York Times investigative reporters have been misled.  Maybe Amazon is really building a creative and dynamic workforce that will identify additional strategies to subdue their current and future competition.  Maybe that explains the meteoric rise in Amazon's share price.  Time will tell. 


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This page looks at schematic structures and their uses.  It discusses a number of examples:
  • Schematic ideas are recombined in creativity. 
  • Similarly designers take ideas and rules about materials and components and combine them. 
  • Schematic Recipes help to standardize operations. 
  • Modular components are combined into strategies for use in business plans and business models. 

As a working example it presents part of the contents and schematic details from the Adaptive Web Framework (AWF)'s operational plan. 

Finally it includes a section presenting our formal representation of schematic goals. 
Each goal has a series of associated complex adaptive system (CAS) strategy strings. 
These goals plus strings are detailed for various chess and business examples. 
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This page uses an example to illustrate how:
  • A business can gain focus from targeting key customers,
  • Business planning activities performed by the whole organization can build awareness, empowerment and coherence. 
  • A program approach can ensure strategic alignment. 
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