My old and dear friend, Lee Bryant, the co-founder and lead at Headshift, which was acquired by Dachis Group a few years ago, has left the company and is starting up something new. He is joined by Livio Hughes, his co-founder and partner at Headshift.
I was touched that the photo he used in the announcement shows me wearing a Headshift T-shirt while Lee is presenting at Reboot, I think in 2006.
I first met Lee in 2004, when he was one of a group of very early pioneers — which included me, Euan Semple, and some others — at a London event we called Social Tools in the Enterprise. We were ahead of what has now become a mainstream aspect of business operations.
Lee makes the case that we are past the head shift that he and Livio anticipated in 2003 when they were kicking off Headshift’s social orientation:
“This is our Post*Shift period, in the sense that it follows the end of Headshift, but also because the ideas and technologies of the social web are now essentially mainstream and uncontroversial in a way they were not a decade ago. So, in a sense, the shift has already happened. The big question is what’s next: what do we do with it, how will business and society adapt in response, and how can we accelerate this process.
“In essence, we have been banging our heads against the brick walls of corporate structures, culture and politics for too long, trying to change them from the inside, network by network, node by node, when their very structures (HR, IT, Operations, Finance, Marketing) act as a barrier to change. Some are changing, however, and some will change; but many will not and in an ideal world, they will be disrupted or replaced by companies that are – as we used to say – ‘smarter, simpler, social’. But what if we step back and try to understand how to create new companies – the corporations of the Twenty-First Century – as natively social, digital, human structures right from the start? How might they look and how might they compete with more traditional companies to show what is possible?”
I will be watching this new thing as it takes shape, because I agree we are now in very different territory, what I call the postnormal. And, as the saying goes, there are no old roads to new directions. I wonder what shape this new, postshift business will take?