The Network Imperative

How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models

Barry Libert, Megan Beck, Jerry Wind

Harvard Business Review Press, June 2016

Digital networks are changing all the rules of business. New, scalable, digitally networked business models, like those of Amazon, Google, Uber, and Airbnb, are affecting growth, scale, and profit potential for companies in every industry. But this seismic shift isn’t unique to digital start-ups and tech superstars. Digital transformation is affecting every business sector, and as investor capital, top talent, and customers shift toward network-centric organizations, the performance gap between early and late adopters is widening.

So the question isn’t whether your organization needs to change, but when and how much.

The Network Imperative is a call to action for managers and executives to embrace network-based business models. The benefits are indisputable: companies that leverage digital platforms to co-create and share value with networks of employees, customers, and suppliers are fast outpacing the market. These companies, or network orchestrators, grow faster, scale with lower marginal cost, and generate the highest revenue multipliers.

Supported by research that covers fifteen hundred companies, authors Barry Libert, Megan Beck, and Jerry Wind guide leaders and investors through the ten principles that all organizations can use to grow and profit regardless of their industry. They also share a five-step process for pivoting an organization toward a more scalable and profitable business model.

The Network Imperative, brimming with compelling case studies and actionable advice, provides managers with what they really need: new tools and frameworks to generate unprecedented value in a rapidly changing age.

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About the Author

Barry Libert is the CEO of OpenMatters and a Senior Fellow at the SEI Center at Wharton. Barry has spent the last 20 years researching business models. In addition, he is an active angel investor in social, mobile, and big data technology companies.

Megan Beck is a digital consultant at OpenMatters, an SEI researcher, and former management consultant at Bain & Company.

Jerry Wind is the Lauder Professor and Professor of Marketing at Wharton and Director of the Wharton “think tank,” the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. He has co-authored multiple books, including The Network Challenge and Competing in a Flat World, that highlight the advantages of network-centered organizations, and also The Power of Impossible Thinking, on mental models.