Day 19: Embeddedness

Picture1Embeddedness. A word that gets used a lot in academia and a lot by me. I teach strategy and claim, repeatedly, that firms are embedded within industries, which are embedded within a global context. You cannot escape it.

And it’s there in every day life. Yesterday’s early morning news hour reported that Karla Homolka had been volunteering at a local elementary school, Premiere Couillard announced plans to relaunch the constitutional debate, and Trump walked on the Paris Agreement. Montreal. Quebec. Canada. World.

Embeddedness. We cannot escape it. But it’s tricky. Because the further out the issue, the less control we have. Homolka volunteering at a local school? Avoid the school, protest, shout loudly and you will be heard. Couillard’s constitutional pursuit? The long and winding road of elections. The Paris Agreement? Become a US citizen, vote against in 2020?

Our reach is limited. We sit squarely in our community, but as we extend our arms to the outer edges, there is little to grab. But we are touched. What happens on the other side of the world finds its way back, always. In exchange rates, the price of food, the temperature, our basic human rights.

The Internet of things is turning everything into a device. Cows. Snake-eating snakes. Food in fridges. Soon we will be able to track every movement of anything that moves, and will find ourselves swimming in a world of data. Awesome.

But it will take time to attach all of those things. So in the meantime, using the things that are on the Internet today, those things that allow a young girl, one voice, to send a message to one of the most powerful leaders of the free world, is one way to reach the outer edges. The Internet amplifies. It helps us extend our reach, to touch those outer-edges, to affect change.