Review (Guest): the mesh–why the future of business is sharing

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Capitalism (Good & Bad), Change & Innovation, Communications, Culture, Research, Economics, Future, Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks)

Lisa Gansky (Author)

5.0 out of 5 stars How and why a new business model has created a “perfect storm” of opportunities

November 10, 2010

By Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

A Mesh enterprise (as opposed to a Mesh company) consists of everyone directly or indirectly associated with the design, production, marketing, sales, distribution, and servicing. It relies on advanced web and mobile data networks to obtain or create whatever information is needed (e.g. demographics of consumers, market trends and patterns, as well as the nature, extent, and frequency of usage. Also, it makes effective use of word-of-mouth and social network channels to “get the word out” about offers, news, and recommendations.

According to Lisa Gansky, and contrary to planned obsolescence, Mesh design ensures that whatever is offered to the consumer is durable, flexible, reliable, and (most important of all) sustainable. Moreover, Gansky observes, “a key advantage for Mesh businesses is the use of rich information to personalize products and services. There are several ways to achieve this. Products can be designed to adjust easily to different users, but in a way that is not time-consuming or expensive, and doesn’t compromise the product’s primary functionality…If a product design is modular, different modules can be added or subtracted from the basic structure.”

Throughout her lively narrative, Gansky explains

o What the Mesh business model is…and isn’t
o How and why there are unique opportunities “for creating new businesses and renewing old ones, for communities, and for the planet”
o How to take full advantage of these opportunities
o How to “grow” the Mesh ecosystem
o The principles of Mesh design and how to follow them
o How five “disparate vectors make the Mesh particularly viable and rewarding within today’s economic and cultural landscape”
o How to adopt and then successfully execute a Mesh strategy
o How to define, refine, and then scale a Mesh business

It is important to keep in mind that, as Gansky carefully explains, “Fundamentally, the Mesh is based on network-enabled sharing – on access rather than ownership. The central strategy is, in effect, to `sell’ the same product multiple times. Multiple sales multiply profits, and customer contact. Multiple contacts multiply opportunity – for additional sales, for strengthening a brand, for improving a competitive service, and for deepening and extending the relationship with customers. [Also with members of social networks.] Using sophisticated information systems, the Mesh also deploys physical assets more efficiently.”

I agree with Lisa Gansky that the Mesh business model is not for everyone. Those who read this book with appropriate care will receive valuable advice from her in order to make that determination. It is also important to keep in mind that the process of adoption, then definition and refinement has only recently begun, as has the emergence of scaling opportunities. My own guess is that we are near the end of the beginning as more business leaders learn more about the Mesh mindset and the principles on which it is based. The future may be uncertain but proceeding toward it is certainly exciting.