(W)interaction Field: Creating high value for organisations, customers and society


If you allow me to state the obvious it would be that successful businesses create value and ignite smart growth.


Yet, most companies today focus on competition and disruption instead of collaboration, participation and engagement. The core endeavor is to optimise or extract value rather than share it. They hoard assets and thrive on unwieldy economics of scale and distribution, and fragile brand recognition. All this is fine till such time a new entrant or rival comes in that doesn’t care much about your brand and your other assets and whiz past you or mow you down. RIP!


The Interaction Field model is one where brands and organisations are allowed to generate, facilitate and benefit from data exchanges among multiple people and groups- from customers and stakeholders, but also from those you wouldn’t expect to be in the mix, like suppliers, software developers, regulators, researchers and even competitors. And everyone in the field works together to solve big, complex, industry-wide and unpredictable societal problems.


By participating in these interconnected groups, interaction field companies can achieve a kind of unstoppable momentum and wild expansion that one can term ‘ velocity ‘. It is a new form of multidimensional, constantly accelerating, explosive and smart growth that goes far beyond the traditional metrics of sales, profits, market share and market capitalisation.


Velocity-multidimensional, constantly accelerating, explosive and smart growth- is what all companies must strive for today, no matter their size or how long they have been in business. It doesn’t matter if the company is a start-up or an incumbent, or a leading player in an existing industry or part of a new and emerging category. So many of the business areas where traditional companies operate are being disrupted, disaggregated, and demolished by changing consumer habits, escalating customer expectations and the ever dynamic force of technological advances. The old business models cannot withstand or survive the torsion of these forces, but the new interaction field companies feed on them.

In retrospect, one would have imagined Accor or IHG or any of the leading hotel chains to have launched Airbnb but that was not the case. Or HMV(with over 80 years of content in their archives) to have launched something like iTunes or Spotify( Apple is a hardware maker mind you).


The interplay of companies in an interaction field has three significant effects:-


– the network effect sets in..more the number of restaurants on Uber Eats or Deliveroo means more options and choices and hence more customers and average ticket size


virality– value created by the velocity rings in more word of mouth and advocacy that are invaluable as against paid or coerced endorsements


-a learning effect emerges- with multiple stakeholders and higher engagements, data becomes more distilled and relevant that can be used to go with trends and predict consumption and behaviour patterns- Tesla collects more data through sensors and cameras than other manufacturers, which enables machine learning for its autopilot software, which increases driver safety.


No matter what customers buy today, they want everything at the speed of Amazon, the accuracy of Google, the ease of zero click convenience of Domino’s Pizza, the everyday low prices of Walmart, the personalisation of Netflix, the charm of Singapore Airlines and the availability and selection of Alibaba.com. Irrespective of whether they are buying a complex piece of medical equipment or a pair of sneakers.


Customers want companies to be responsive and human, socially conscientious and environmentally aware. They want innovation and delight delivered to a world-class standard. They want security and privacy and(not oddly) openness and transparency. They want the feel of a small local business with the capabilities of a global giant. A good share price would do nicely as well too, not to mention leaders who don’t get jettisoned or thrown in jail for fraud or bad behaviour.


Quite a challenge- it may sound ambitious and it is, unapologetically. But looking around, one should reckon that this indeed is the best(rather only) way forward for businesses today.

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