PwC Strategy Team Tackles Blockchain

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In a very detailed, informative and lengthy tome on Blockchain at strategy+business (s+b) published by PwC Strategy& LLC PwC heavyweights John PlanskyTim O’Donnell and Kimberly Richards take on the complex task of corporate strategy when it boils down to Blockchain.

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“…blockchain technology could become a game-changing force in any venue where trading occurs, where trust is at a premium, and where people need protection from identity theft — including the public sector (managing public records and elections), healthcare (keeping records anonymous but easily available), retail (handling large-ticket purchases such as auto leasing and real estate), and, of course, all forms of financial services. Indeed, some farsighted banks are already exploring how blockchain might transform their approaches to trading and settling, back-office operations, and investment and capital assets management. They recognize that the technology could become a differentiating factor in their own capabilities, enabling them to process transactions with more efficiency, security, privacy, reliability, and speed. It is possible that blockchain could transform transactions to the same degree that the global positioning system (GPS) transformed transportation, by making data accessible through a common electronic platform.

But although the potential is immense, so is the uncertainty. Distributed ledger technologies are so new, so complex, and so prone to rapid change that it’s difficult to predict what form they will ultimately take — or even to be sure they will work. The Gartner Group declared in an August 2015 report that crypto-currency was traveling a “hype cycle”: it had passed the Peak of Inflated Expectations and was headed for the Trough of Disillusionment. Another research firm, Forrester, titled it’s 2015 blockchain report “Don’t Believe in Miracles,” advising enterprises to wait five to 10 years before introducing blockchain, in part because of legal restrictions.”

It seems the PwC trio is a little more bullish on Blockchain than Forrester. They recommend strategists proceed deliberately, but be cautious and don’t try to convert existing systems to blockchain initiatives right away. Their recommendation is to focus more on exploring how others might try to disrupt your business with distributed ledger technology and maybe putting one or two pilot projects into place.

Four Steps to a Blockchain-Enabled Strategy

Your blockchain and distributed ledger efforts will be most effective if you see them as ways to reinforce or strengthen your company’s most distinctive capabilities — the ones that differentiate you in the market. For example, if you’re known for rapid fulfillment and responsive customer service, the fast turnaround rates enabled by blockchain could allow you to stay ahead of competitors. At the same time, the technology is too new and unproven to base your company on. Therefore, your best investments are those that allow you to explore new approaches with strategic potential and understand the costs involved before committing to them.

We recommend creating a core technology working group to better understand the possibilities. But keep a close watch. Working groups like these can easily get caught up in the promise of new technologies, at the expense of your overarching strategy. To counter this tendency, they need to have a clear idea of your company’s strategic goals, and how blockchain could enhance its value proposition — and then they need to constrain their efforts accordingly.

Step 1: Find specific opportunities.
Step 2: Explore feasibility and readiness.
Step 3: Put your prototypes to work.
Step 4: Scale your efforts appropriately.

Read in full here. 

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 1500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Ad Honorem - Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme.  Over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Dubai, Eindhoven, Gdansk, Groningen, the Hague, Helsinki, London (5x), Manchester, Minsk, Nairobi, Nanchang, Prague, San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara (2x), Shanghai, Singapore (3x), Tel Aviv, Utrecht, Venice, Visakhapatnam, Zwolle and Zurich.

He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe. He's written occasionally for Harvard Business Review, Wired, Venturebeat, The Guardian and Virgin.com, and his work and ideas have been translated into Dutch, Greek, Polish, German and French. A journalist by trade, an entrepreneur and adventurer at heart, Kastelein's professional career has ranged from political publishing to TV technology, boatbuilding to judging startups, skippering yachts to marketing and more as he's travelled for nearly 30 years as a Canadian expatriate living around the world. In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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