C. K. Prahalad talks about N=1 and R=G in his new book called the New Age of Innovation. The interview here gives some snippets of the thoughts in the book.
Customizable products and services is an area which every Enterprise has talked before. Now it is self-configurable products and services through direct involvement of user and customer. Customer is the King - as the cliche goes, Now Customer wants to be the creator as well. The customer wants to be in the business of Self. This is the logical next stage of attention economy.
Prahalad says, "Now, it may have reached an inflection point. Ubiquitous connectivity (4 billion Indians will be connected by 2012 for the first time in history); digitisation, convergence of technology and industry boundaries (is your face cream an FMCG product or a pharma product?), and the emergence of social networks have collectively put a turbo charge on this transformation. The costs are dropping so dramatically that today the poorest people can afford digital communication."
Further he adds, " I am not interested in a “charismatic leader” approach to innovation. Companies need continuous changes — not just episodic breakthroughs. It’s like a marathon runner, with the difference that you divide the distance into 400 metres each.
This enables you to run at full speed but the breaks ensure you have the stamina to go the full course. Today’s Google, for instance, looks like a distant cousin to the Google two years ago. They have taken small steps very, very rapidly — that’s the key to success."
How many quick small steps and in how many different directions ou are taking simultaneously may be the key! It is not a linear world out there - Water falls but through a water-fall model or Gaussian curve. It expands in multiple directions in the New Age of Innovation