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Power Comes From Coordination

I’ve interviewed hundreds of business outthinkers, and oneof the most common patterns of success is “coordinate the uncoordinated.”

I’ve interviewed hundreds of business outthinkers, and oneof the most common patterns of success is “coordinate the uncoordinated.”

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We’ve seen this work for companies like Credit Justice Services, anethonomic credit repair company that operates using a network of accountadvisers from across the United States. We saw how President Obama coordinatedsupporters by using Facebook and Twitter, and he reached out with email campaigns,registration sites and donation sites to make it easier than ever forsupporters to take part in his campaign.

Husk PowerSystems is also using this approach. Cofounders Chip Ransler and Manoj Sinha realizedthat bringing electricity to rural India would require coordinating a networkof power plants.

As if turning rice husks into energy wasn’t enough, Chip andManoj were focused on making that invention even more valuable. The team diverged from industry norms that dictatedthat the most efficient process was to produce electricity centrally, at alarge plant, and then distribute it widely. Husk could have designed a largepower plant, but instead chose to design small, local ones.

Husk’s power plants are about the size of a truck. Each”mini power plant” produces 35 to 100 kW of electricity, which is enough toservice a village of 2,000 to 4,000 inhabitants for much of the day.

Creating a decentralized network of mini power plants cutagainst the norms of the energy industry. But it offered several advantages.”Each plant is locally operated,” explains Chip. “So it produces local jobs anduses local waste.”

As such, a plant becomes something that benefits the localcommunity, something they can take pride in. This approach avoids pittingcommunities against each other, fighting for electricity distribution rights,arguing about waste and jobs.

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Where most of us think about organizations, the innovatorssucceeding today seem to increasingly think in terms of communities, or loosernetworks of agents that together form something bigger.

Husk is focused on making small, decentralized power plants,and it is dedicated to making sure that the plants provide a sense of pride forthe community.

As Chip says, “We only use rice husks from the locallyproduced agriculture. We hire people locally; we give at least three peoplejobs in each village. We collect money locally through people who the localresidents know well. We provide service in a very reliable fashion.”

Just as birds form flocks and fish form schools, Husk’smini-plants and local electricity distribution networks form something biggereven though they are not physically connected.

Ask yourself the questions below to see how you can getcoordinated and make a difference.

1.Whois uncoordinated in my industry?

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2.Howcould I connect them?

3. What community needs to be connected forthe benefit of the greater good?

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About the author

Author of Outthink the Competition business strategy keynote speaker and CEO of Outthinker, a strategic innovation firm, Kaihan Krippendorff teaches executives, managers and business owners how to seize opportunities others ignore, unlock innovation, and build strategic thinking skills. Companies such as Microsoft, Citigroup, and Johnson & Johnson have successfully implemented Kaihan’s approach because their executive leadership sees the value of his innovative technique. Kaihan has delivered business strategy keynote speeches for organizations such as Motorola, Schering‐Plough, Colgate‐Palmolive, Fortune Magazine, Harvard Business Review, the Society of Human Resource Managers, the Entrepreneurs Organization, and The Asia Society

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