How to gain web3 competitive edge 

During the fall of 2014, attending the executive program of Singularity University at the heart of the Silicon Valley, the idea that Blockchain would be as significant to the growth of the internet in the next fifteen years as the internet has been in the previous 25 years started to grow in my mind. 

Two market cycles after, I have seen many of the world’s best minds and billions of dollars in investment pouring into the space to figure out how to use the technology to make a fully digital society a reality. The adoption of Bitcoin has increased its positioning as a store of value; smart contracts have enabled crowdfunding, stablecoins, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and Decentralized finance (DeFi). 

Companies in various industries use blockchain to streamline processes and foster greater transparency and trust. According to Fortune Business Insights, the global blockchain market is projected to grow from $7.18 billion in 2022 to $163.83 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 56.3% in the forecast period.  

Blockchain is more than Bitcoin, Stable Coins, NFTs, DeFi, and Crypto.

Considering the pandemic, we have seen that the two main factors driving the expansion of the blockchain market are the financial services sector’s competitiveness and the health sector’s digitalization. Also, growth is fueled by the increased demand for data security, and there is already noticeable progress in the supply chain, gaming, music, and the arts. 

Our Web3 innovation practice has been helping firms in the fintech, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors to assess the impact of blockchain and other exponential technology and trends on their business, develop integrated programs to enhance their current business models, create new ones, and gain and track their competitive advantages. 

We know from experience that blockchain is still in its infancy and that it has yet to demonstrate its potential to transform the current internet into the internet of the future. But every business needs to dip a toe into the web3 wave. While in most businesses, it might still be early to commit entirely, there are certain areas where the race has already started. 

Why Blockchain? 

We are moving from the sharing economy into the ownership economy with new ways people organize around a project; communities and decentralized organizations will play a critical role. Blockchain technology becomes essential for business and society if you believe that material contributions should have clear ownership and provenance. 

Blockchain is a platform for disintermediation; it is about trust, decentralization, and ownership. Consumers can own their data, and the technology enables tools to reward contributors and user behavior, boosting creativity, collaboration, and digital communities.  

Communities are starting to engage their members, simplifying the technology and the user experience, and from there, they are beginning to explore opportunities. Therefore, adoption driven by digital communities will be critical and effective.  

When technology is simple to use and solves a real problem, it is quickly embraced by the public. As it is, blockchain will not be an exception. Businesses must explore, build, measure, learn, and repeat to develop the skills required to flourish in the web3. 

How to gain web3 competitive edge? 

Below are the components of a disruptive innovation system to help organizations embrace blockchain disruption, gain competitive advantages, and make web3 happen. 

  1. Begin with a Massive Transformative Purpose that can be taken by your organization and your community or one that can draw a new community.  
  1. Proactively and pragmatically assess market trends impacting your business to identify opportunities where trust, ownership, and disintermediation have the potential to change the future of your industry. 
  1. Leverage your Purpose, develop relationships, and nurture community; this way, the right people will find you. 
  1. Engage your community, and educate yourself on web3 to better identify the problems your organization can solve and the jobs to be done with the customer at the core. 
  1. Set aggressive objectives and 3-5 measurable key results (OKRs), run experiments, fall fast, and learn quickly. 
  1. Establish and maintain a business rhythm and help your team to identify what they need to create new business models and monetization mechanisms. 
  1. Use data, dashboards, and real-time information to make informed decisions about where and how to invest across the web3 innovation portfolio. 
  1. Understand and measure your key success factors (KSFs), and hold yourself and your team accountable. Identify the #1 most prominent specific and measurement activity to success. 
  1. Wash, rinse, and repeat; and make sure you extend your web3 disruption innovation culture. 

Those who don’t start climbing the web3 learning curve may miss the most significant value-creation opportunity of our lifetimes, just as many people did during the transition to the world wide web in the 90s and the second wave during the 00s, where the user-generated content business models emerged. 

If you have any comments or suggestions or would like to continue the conversation, do get in touch with us. 
 

How to Operate on a New Web3 World

Web3 is a cultural movement, a whole new philosophy. It goes beyond coding and finance. It is a new world that enables creators and users to capture the value you create, and we need to understand what it means and how we should change our operational models.

The world as we know it is changing fast. Recent technologies are empowering creators and consumers, and their applications are disrupting the value that intermediaries and aggregators traditionally provided. As a result, millions of new web3 users arise, and the speed at what is happening is faster than in the precedent waves.

It is a new abundant and decentralized world; data is the new oil, and developing new distributed ledger technologies and protocols brings trust, data integrity, transparency, and automation. When mixing these new possibilities with the rise of the web2-native generation, the result is that in a brief time, the Web3 applications will be used by billions of people.

The web of reading and writing

The internet and Web2.0 business models have unlocked tremendous value for the world. In the first wave, publishers and webmasters generated the information, and users consumed it. In web2.0, the information is generated by the users.

During that transition, the internet evolved from a web of reading into a web of reading and writing. In addition, the web2.0 business model shifted the value away from physical assets into services, information products, platforms, and ecosystems.

Many incumbents could not adapt to this fundamental shift in the business model. However, some Internet companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon made it, and together with Web2.0 companies such as Facebook, Salesforce, Netflix, Tesla, and Airbnb, have significantly outgrown and overtaken pre-internet incumbents in the consumer electronics, software, advertising, retail, entertainment, transportation, and hospitality industries.

Web3 businesses are primed to disrupt the web2.0 incumbents

Web3 projects are blockchain-native and create value for people who care about them and participate. The new internet is where digital scarcity, creators, and consumers take the driving seat. It is the new ownership economy. It is much stronger on personal privacy.

Communities of developers, creators, entrepreneurs, and users have created Decentralized Protocols, Cryptocurrencies, Smart Contracts platforms, DAOS (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations), DApps (Decentralized Apps), DeFi (Decentralized Finance), Decentralized Digital Property, DeSo (Decentralized Social) and much more as we are getting innovations every week.

Web3 blockchain-native businesses such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Coinbase, Uniswap, Chainlink, Avae, and others are primed to disrupt the web2.0 incumbents. They are disrupting the winner-takes-all-aggregator business models of the current market leaders. Web3 business models align incentives for creators, consumers, suppliers, and investors in ways that web2 companies cannot.

We are early on the web3 transition.

The new Decentralized Web and its novel business models are only crossing the disappointment phase of the exponential curve. It is difficult to understand and more relevant for adoption. It is still difficult to use. Think of the early websites from 1996, remarkably simple digital copies of the physical newspapers or physical stores with limited navigation capabilities and restricted user interfaces.

Web3 is still in its infancy but is moving faster than the previous two waves as more developers are moving to work with web3. Now is the time for leaders to understand this new era of decentralized ledgers, how it is transforming businesses, and how to unlock value from it.

Working with Exponential Organizations, we have learned how dangerous it is to ignore those new disrupting developments until it is too late. If we are not ready at the point of the “hockey stick,” we know it will be almost impossible to catch up with the exponential curve.

The ExO Model and the Web3

Many successful web2 businesses have implemented the ExO model to build an abundance-based business model. Our thesis is that every thriving organization will have adopted ExO attributes by the end of the decade.

For traditional organizations to remind relevant, they should examine and update their skills matrix and gap analysis to include 21st Century leadership characteristics and look for solutions fostering a distributed innovation approach.

Many organizations will require a process to change their linear mindset and gain agility, helping create their massive transformative purpose. Others will benefit from ExO coaching to embrace challenges, assess openly and transparently their opportunities and disruptions openly and transparently, and create a roadmap for the future that resonates with them.

Experimentation and learning are built into the methodologies we use with our customers. They enable rapid iterations based on real feedback. Therefore, we recommend practicing incremental implementation based on experimentation and focusing on better experiences, satisfied customers, and happier employees.

For new web3 projects, we recommend reviewing and leveraging six ExO attributes: Purpose, Community & Crowd, Engagement, Experimentation, Autonomy, and Social Technologies.

Web3 is a cultural movement, a whole new philosophy. It goes beyond coding and finance. It is a new world that enables creators and users to capture the value you create, and we need to understand what it means and how we should change our operational models.

We Live in an Age of Distributed Innovation

Tokens are allowing innovators to capture economic value in open ecosystems. Therefore, Web 3 is creating the incentive structures required to solve the world’s biggest problems.

A few weeks ago, a colleague reached out to one of my networks to share her Analysis of How Blockchain Technology Could Facilitate Citizen Disruption of Innovation[1]. I took the opportunity to chat with her about how to leverage distributed innovation.

More recently, after listening to “5 Mental Models for Web 3.0 [2]” I had an Aha moment. My daughter who loves writing told me that she learned that “if you want something to exist, write it down.” I decided to write my insights about distributed innovation.

Everyone is sharing more knowledge at faster speeds and has more broadband at a lower cost. “The world is getting faster, and the power you have to change the world is getting greater.” [3]

Our lives are changing and will change even more: not in twenty or thirty years but now. Our future is arriving faster because technology continues advancing at an exponential pace. Due to abundance, not only nations or corporations, have access to plenty of talent, capital, data, and communication. As a result, we are increasing our capabilities while collaborating with people and machines.

The Internet is evolving into a third phase, the Web 3. During the coming years, even successful digital companies and platforms created as part of the sharing economy will be disrupted by the new decentralized peer2peer based business models.

To understand why digital companies will undergo disruption it is important to know that during Web 1, we made information available everywhere and instantaneous; personal and content websites and user consuming information disrupted news media, and music, among other industries. In Web 2, we enabled creators and individuals to participate and share their creations and content via podcasting, blogging, social networking, and social media on mobile-first platforms.

Now, in Web 3, developers are creating a digital property, decentralized finance, and unique non-fungible digital assets. As a result, we are disintermediating industries, protecting our data, and evolving networks and platforms into economies where all participants receive part of the value they contribute to creating.

Digital trust is enabling abundance and bringing back scarcity to the digital world. More precisely, Bitcoin is the first scarce digital object the world has ever seen. Furthermore, NFTs and blockchain technology managed to bring scarcity to the digital world by giving value to the original file rather than by trying to prevent (and prohibit) copying that file [4].

Web 3.0 is the Internet of value already disrupting the banking industry, the internet of energy, and the logistics internet altogether.  The conjunction of technologies such as blockchain, AI (Artificial Intelligence), sensors/IoT, and 3D printing, combined with other economic and cultural phenomena such as the sharing economy and crowdfunding mechanisms are driving our new world.

We are at a turning point in how we harness technology and innovation.

A new phase of innovation is upon us. It is much faster than the rapid adoption of smartphones and social networks during Web 2. Nowadays, most of the population has access to information, distributed gig-workers, and experiences via their smartphones.

Web 3 projects use staff on demand, community, and a crowd-based mechanism to fund and support their ideas via crypto tokens. These tokens have been used as means of exchange, store of value, access to services, and more recently they have been used to govern projects, incentivize behaviors, and recognize community members. Furthermore, the NFTs (not-fungible-tokens) now represent digital collectibles in art, music, and games. For example, participants of the Axie game perform tasks that add value to their ecosystem, and they are rewarded with a digital asset in the form of NFTs that can be sold and converted into an income stream. Tokens are allowing innovators to capture economic value in open ecosystems.

Therefore, Web 3 is creating the incentive structures required to solve the world’s biggest problems. The access to technology and resources not previously available is unlocking intelligent and innovative people worldwide to solve their biggest problems, moreover, these people have dealt with the problems they are trying to fix for years and are therefore more motivated than companies or governments who have pledged to fix them. Additionally, very soon we will have trillions of machines and individuals connected to the Internet that will, in many cases, communicate and transact among them without human interaction.

Distributed Innovation

Together with Fluid Chains, we have been launching high-impact businesses with exponential scaling on top of the distributed innovation trend during the past five years. We have embraced the open-source movement and we have enabled cities and communities to co-create token economies. In addition, we have built distributed ledger platforms for the creator’s economy, launched decentralized services, and built Proof of Concepts within fintech, energy, logistics, health, and other industries.

We know that successful blockchain or distributed ledger projects are Exponential Organizations by design and require a distributed innovation approach. They harness Community, Algorithms, and Engagement attributes to connect with abundance, and scale through Interfaces, Experiments, Autonomy, and Social ExO [5] attributes.

In the new world of Web 3.0, no one can afford to be self-sufficient. We need to bring together more and better resources than those we can have inside our organizations. We should attract the best people to collaborate on our projects. Thus, to attract elite members to participate and create value, it is essential to offer them a fair share of the value created.

To succeed in an era where networks are becoming economies, and where it is challenging to negotiate based on differing objectives, risk appetite, and power, we need to be open and learn new models and approaches.

We need to be agile, learn fast and fail fast; we need to organize work effectively in communities and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO) through Massive Transformative purposes (MTP).

We need to leverage a culture of autonomy driven by a growth mindset and a clear purpose. It is essential to embrace social tools and decentralized governance as vehicles for asynchronous collaboration, and decision-making among diverse groups of individuals working online with no centralized leadership.

Web 1 websites started as news boards, catalogs, and directories; then became portals, mail services, and e-commerce. Today they are social networks, Software as a Services (SaaS), and sharing economies platforms. Web 3 digital tokens are the new website in our wallets’ addresses the new access credentials, moving forward, we will see more and more use cases we are not imaging today.

How can you help your business tap into this unprecedented access to innovation and harness it for benefit?

Based on my experience, I recommend educational and experiential learning. The leadership and the functional teams need to gain a new mindset, leadership skills, and capabilities. I strongly suggest participating in one of the thousands of Web 3 projects solving specific problems related to your industry or your personal passions. You can start by joining their communities and experimenting to learn with everyone else.

Another good idea is to bring experts to help you and your team identify transformational initiatives that enhance your organization’s current business model. They can also help to identify distributed innovative projects that could potentially disrupt your business and your industry.

You should be open to partnering with incubators and accelerators and even investing in Web 3 projects that have already found market-fit for a problem/solution aligned with your organization’s purpose.

We are writing down our future, be the first to write it. Those who arrive first will be rewarded, the laggards will fall behind. This thought was brought by teaching my grandfather passed to me many years ago “el que pega primero, pega dos veces.

Are you planning to leverage distributed innovation in your business today? How will you do it? I’d love to continue the conversation.

[1] Article Published at RollingStone.com

[2] Bankless Podcast with Chris Dixon

[3]  Peter Diamandis, best-selling author, public speaker, and philanthropist

[4]  Realm10.com

[5] Exponential Organizations