Open Enterprise: Trust and Co-creation of Value

Henrik Stamm Kristensen

In the book The Naked Corporation, which I mentioned in a previous post, Don Tapscott and David Ticoll refer to an emergent type of firm: The open enterprise; quite an interesting concept that they define as “actively transparent while carefully managing their critical competitive information and security”. They explain how in this model, transparency becomes a corporate value as well as a strategic tool, allowing companies to build trusting relationships with their stakeholders, which leads to the co-creation of value and more sustainable business and efficient processes. Some interesting views are behind the concept:

  • A closer relationship between the strategic and corporate social responsibility activities of a company. Don Tapscott and David Ticoll argue that what they call “new integrity” is the way for creating value, and for building trust, stability and social justice, and they related it with values such as honesty, accountability, transparency, and consideration.
  • The possibility of creating more sustainable supply chains and businesses. The authors of the book maintain that open enterprises are companies that “stick with suppliers to protect their suppliers’ viability and the integrity of the supply chain. They build trusting relationships and effective networking business”. Here, they put the example of Dell Computers, who instead of looking for the cheapest suppliers to cheapen their products, works with a small group of selected suppliers to produce the best components and the best computers. This attitude drives to a better control of their supply chain, managing more information to make informed decisions and building more valuable relationships with customers, partners and stakeholders, additionally to drive to inventory costs reductions, more process efficiency, innovation, and brand loyalty.
  • The Co-creation of value. Transparency and trust are interdependent and lead to motivation and loyalty. In effective organizations, as the authors add, partnerships are based on commonly shared values. Open Enterprise “engages partners in high-transparency business webs to create products and services with lower cost and market differentiation”, they explain.
  • The generation of social good. Trust is presented as an instrument for the wealth creation in a transparent and networked world.

All these three aspects are clearly linked, leading to more effective organizations, to be able to reduce their vulnerability and having a major control of their supply chains, by collaborating and sharing information transparency. In a business such as the food powder blends production, this is something that we have needed for a long time. Transparency is a powerful tool that will allow the collaboration of the companies operating in the sector to innovate and produce more and better foodstuffs, to sustain, and to address challenges like the one of feeding a growing population in a context of scarcity of resources and inequality in the access to food.

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