Chapter 5

Convergence, Crossover, and Beyond

Traditional technology buyers are learning to become technology vendors, as we saw in Chapter 1. Many vendors are replacing buyers as the new best practice leaders, as we saw in Chapter 2. Welcome to the world of the technology “buyor”—the switch-hitter, who is good at both sides of the baseball plate, like the legendary Mickey Mantle.

Ambidexterity is a skill valued in many other sports. There are the soccer players who can fire rockets with either leg and cricketers who have mastered the “reverse sweep.” They look as elegant as Bjorn Borg did, when he dazzled the tennis world with his two-handed backhand on his way to multiple Wimbledon titles. They are the drummers who can use all four limbs to magical effect in a band.

Not just in sports—Michelangelo is supposed to have painted the Sistine Chapel with both hands (and it still took him years).

Ambidexterity in technology can be just as dazzling.

The “Buyor” Phenomenon

We saw UPS as “part transportation, part technology” in Chapter 1. There are others like 3M, GE, and The Washington Post Company described below.

Go to the 3M website and you see a “periodic table” with 46 elements.1 Click on Bi, and it describes 3M in Biotechnology, Mf describes what it does with Mechanical Fasteners, and We with Accelerated Weathering. The company many of us know best for Post-it notes and Scotch tape has more than 55,000 products and has an uncanny ability to combine highly innovative technologies ...

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