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Endeavour Partners

Navigators for the digital economy

The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed
— William Gibson, science fiction author

Endeavour Partners empowers business leaders to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy

Digitisation – and digital disruption – is the biggest challenge facing most businesses

While leaders of almost all established enterprises in every sector of the economy now acknowledge digitisation – and digital disruption in particular – as the most important issue facing their businesses, very few are yet responding effectively – we estimate fewer than one in ten

Most still think about digital primarily as either just a way to save time and money in the current business, or a way to do the same business better – better customer experience, new agile ways of working, and accelerated albeit incremental innovation – without creating new value or pursuing new business models

The real value is in becoming a digital explorer

Although these initial steps on the journey to becoming a digital leader are necessary, they are rarely sufficient

The real threats come from digital disruption to existing business models, and the real opportunities lie in finding ways to create significant new value, driving breakthrough innovation – becoming a digital explorer

Becoming digital is a journey, rather than a destination

Our experience working on these issues over the last few years suggests that you should think of this as embarking on a journey of exploration. It typically requires significant shifts in management's mindset, major changes in how the business works, and progressive changes in the strategy of the business

In general, however, this need not happen overnight. Indeed, in most cases it shouldn't be a 'big bang’ transformation, a high risk ‘big bet'; on the other hand, it shouldn't be only a 'bottoms-up' effort, lacking direction and focus, involving just ’no regrets’ moves

We find that the most effective path forward is a progressive evolution, making well-informed and timely strategic decisions about which course to follow, creating new value while at the same time continuing to optimise the current core business

Two key elements in this ambidextrous approach involve increasing the resilience of the core business to the shifts that can be anticipated, thereby mitigating the downside, and developing real options, which the business can then exploit the upsides when the circumstances are right

This is a tough challenge; becoming a successful digital leader typically requires new behaviours:

  • ambidexterity – adopting new ways of working and creating new value with new business models, while at the same time continuing to optimise the performance of the current core business
  • acuity – a clear and sharp vision for how the environment is changing
  • audacity – the courage to take risks in pursuit of the large potential rewards
  • agility – start quickly, move swiftly, shift course promptly 
We didn’t have the money, so we had to think
— Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize-winning New Zealand scientist

Our thinking

The future of work...

Five key digital technologies – smartphones, cloud services, IoT, AI and robotics – are transforming the world of work

 

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

The 10th of July is the 10th anniversary of the launch of the app store, one of the two key developments that mark the the era of the modern smartphone — the other being the iPhone 3G on the 11th July, bringing with it (more or less) broadband connectivity....

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
— Arthur C Clarke, science fiction author and futurist

We work with our clients to navigate them throughout the journey to becoming digital leaders

Enlighten

We make sense of the digital technologies that are reshaping the economy, and driving digital disruption:

  • smartphones
  • (modular) cloud services
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • (collaborative, autonomous) robotics

We have decades of real world experience working with the world's leading technology companies on business strategy and product creation – we can separate myth from reality, and explain what these technologies can really deliver, challenging conventional wisdom

We understand the linkage between these technologies and business outcomes, and the way in which they are reshaping the economy and society:

  • empowering consumers – enabling better informed decisions, saving time and money, creating prosperity
  • unleashing creativity – new ways of working, automating the routine, becoming agile and flexible
  • acceleration innovation – energising entrepreneurship, stimulating new business models

Anticipate

We provide clear and accurate charts of what the future will look like, clearer foresight:

  • technologies and their innovation trajectories – future possibilities, what can be done
  • demand opportunity – the potential to create value, what is worth doing
  • co-evolution of the business ecosystem – capturing sufficient value

We discern important developments that others miss, recognise challenges and opportunities earlier, and we identify key turning points in trends and the resulting transitions

This enables us to identify future scenarios, and their likelihood, and to qualify and quantify the potential impact

Discover

Most new products fail because (enough) customers don't want them (enough), rather than because of technology or competition

We enable our clients to go beyond current products and markets, to discover the underlying product-independent motivations that drive customers' behaviours, and the total customer experience, to anticipate what they will want, often before they know it themselves

This delivers powerful insights about the potential for value creation, and enables us to work with our clients to develop creative new value propositions, test and validate them, and then iterate them based on learning in the marketplace

Navigate

We bring clarity to complexity, empowering leaders to build a shared understanding, to make timely and well-informed decisions and take action, in particular where it is difficult or impossible to achieve consensus:

  • implications for the business
  • key insights
  • potential strategic options
  • creating and capturing value
  • key decisions to make, and actions to take
  • the best course to pursue

We are used to working with top management at leading global companies, and understand the realities of working in these complex organisational contexts  

Accelerate

We enable our clients to accelerate the pace at which they create value, and then capture value:

  • start quickly
  • move swiftly
  • shift course promptly

We have real world experience of new agile ways of working, and of the particularly difficult challenges of making this happen within large and long-lived incumbents

The best way to predict the future is to invent it
— Alan C Kay, computer scientist

Endeavour Partners is different

We deliver deeper insight, clearer foresight, and enable faster and more creative innovation

We have a broad and deep understanding of the key digital technologies, developed from decades of working with the companies creating them

We have a unique ability to make the connection between these technologies and their business implications, and to develop robust and realistic projections, providing a clearer and more accurate vision of the future

We bring clarity to complexity, enabling well-informed and timely decision-making

We are agile – fast, flexible and friendly – and always aspire to be great people to work with

We combine passion for this work, with broad and deep specialist expertise and decades of relevant experience, and a broad and rich network of partnerships and relationships throughout the digital and technology ecosystem worldwide, from global technology titans through academe and government to creative new startups. 

Endeavour Partners' leaders have decades of experience in creating value from digital technologies

Michael A M Davies

Michael is the Founder and Chairman of Endeavour Partners.

He has spent more than twenty-five years working with global business leaders to help them create value from technological innovation, and from digital technologies in particular.

He is a Senior Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he teaches on the Integrated Design and Management program, and he runs the New Technology Ventures program at London Business School.

He is an active entrepreneur, a co-founder of several technology ventures including Silverthread, Inc. which enables business leaders to get control of their software, and active on technology and policy issues in a number of forums

 

Sunny Ahn

Sunny is a Partner at Endeavour Partners.

He has worked extensively with technology, media and telecommunication (TMT) service providers, device manufacturers, energy, insurance, logistics and healthcare firms in the US, Europe and Asia

Prior to joining Endeavour Partners, Sunny was a Founder and CEO of Context Connect, a secure connectivity and transactions provider. 

Sunny has held teaching and research positions at MIT, Harvard University and Yonsei University (Korea) on entrepreneurship, transformation strategy, sustainability and IP strategy. He is also a mentor for the National Science Foundation – NSF I-Corp program and the Korea Innovation Center (KIC).

He holds Masters and Bachelors degrees from Harvard University.