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Transformation consultant Christopher Flores (with contributions from David Arnoux and Chat GPT) , discuss the topic of a recent webinar where they joined MEF’s James Williams to discuss the AI revolution and what it means for the tech ecosystems and the enterprises in them.

As technology hurtles forward at an unprecedented pace, the telco industry finds itself standing on a precipice. The traditional models and practices that once defined success are becoming shackles, holding back innovation, transformation and the immense talent lying dormant in most companies.

Today, the stakes are higher than ever, and the consequences of inaction are dire. In our recent MEF webinar, we presented a rallying cry for senior executives to embrace new ways of working to secure the future of their organizations.

The Changing Landscape: A Moment of Truth

The telecommunications industry stands at a crossroads, caught between the relentless march of progress and the risk of stagnation. The industry knows the potential that technologies, such as 5G, IoT and the Cloud, have to change the business landscape, yet few have been able to capture their full potential and develop them into compelling business models.

icon color=”Accent-Color” size=”small” image=”fa-quote-left”] The telecommunications industry stands at a crossroads, caught between the relentless march of progress and the risk of stagnation. The industry knows the potential that technologies, such as 5G, IoT and the Cloud, have to change the business landscape, yet few have been able to capture their full potential and develop them into compelling business models.

At the same time, the emergence of revolutionary technologies—generative artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics—threatens to disrupt the very foundations of the industry. Generative AI has opened the flood gates of innovation, is breaking down barriers to entry, and is serving as a launching pad for highly disruptive start-ups.

McKinsey published a groundbreaking study, predicting that generative AI could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually. The telco sector alone stands to gain between $60 – $100 billion.

However to profit rather than perish by the AI revolution, the industry must undergo a profound metamorphosis—moving away from top-down traditional business practices and to a more empowering, human-centric, and highly adaptive operating model. Wholesale change is the only way to maximise their brand and market positioning, critical assets and talent.

Adapt or Perish

Let us not mince words—ignoring the breakneck speed and disruption of business in a generative AI world is akin to signing a death warrant for your organization. In their book, The Future Is Faster Than You Think, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler predict that there will be more progress in the next decade than in the past 100 years. Failure to adapt to the changing landscape leaves companies vulnerable to irrelevance and obsolescence.

Pressure on margins for once highly profitable services, such as roaming, coupled with the commodisation of voice and messaging and the crowded CPaaS marketplace are all putting an enormous burden on companies to find new sources of revenues and provide crucial value-added services. Yet, the industry is using industrial-era business practices to compete in a digitalised world. This has led EY to declare culture and poor management as major risk factors facing the sector, globally.

Instead of partnering, they go down the long, expensive and complicated M&A path. Instead of maximising talent and unleashing entrepreneurialism, they hire smart people, put them in specialisation boxes and tell them how to do their jobs. Instead of taking risks and learning through experimentation, five-year plans and first-time-right mentality suffocate innovation.

Learn From a Washing Machine

The winds of change blow fiercely, demanding a fundamental shift in mindset. The old guard, with its hierarchical structures and bureaucratic models, is an outdated playbook, unable to keep pace with the digital storm that rages around us. It is time to shed the chains of rigidity and embrace a new way of thinking—an agile, innovative, and customer-centric approach that places the customer at the heart of every decision.

When Haier, a struggling Chinese white goods manufacturer, appointed their new CEO Zhang Ruimin in the mid-1980s, little did the people on the factory floor know how much change was coming. The next decades saw the company evolve from an organisation that had to tell its employees don’t pee on the floor to one of the most entrepreneurial, customer centric and innovative companies in the world.

Haier’s operating model, Rendanheyi, is paradigm-shifting approach to business that transcends the mundane and embraces the extraordinary. It exalts the power of both the collective and the individual, where every employee is a maestro, composing their own harmonious melody within the grand symphony of the organization. No rigid hierarchies to confine creativity; instead, ideas surge from all corners, free-flowing like a river of ingenuity, enriching the culture with diversity and depth. In this wondrous ecosystem, the customer reigns supreme, their desires act as a guiding star, illuminating the path forward.

Operating Model Litmus Test

The time for half-measures and timid steps is over. To navigate the treacherous waters ahead, telecommunication leaders must embrace completely new ways of working. How does your business measure?

Industrial Mindset Digital Mindset
  • Hierarchical
  • Centralized Decision Making
  • Mass Production
  • Efficiency Driven
  • Silos
  • Linear Planning
  • Build/Buy Model
  • Hire Specialists  
  • Decentralized Structures
  • Open Decision-Making
  • Customer-Centricity
  •  Agility
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptative Strategies/Iterative Learning
  • Partnership Model
  • Hire for Talent/Potential  

Will Your Company Be Here in 10 Years?

The clock is ticking, and the stakes have never been higher. The future belongs to those who dare to act, who seize the opportunity in the face of uncertainty. The path to survival lies in embracing true transformation. Will you stand idly by, clinging to the fading echoes of the past, or will you rise to the challenge, transforming your organization into a force to be reckoned with? The future waits for no one.


If you are looking to transform your organisation, you must start small and build trust and excitement along the way. If you need help getting started, Christopher Flores can help your company transition through direct one-on-one support, through his bespoke transformation toolkit, or through a customised programme.

Growth Tribe is a great resource for online learning, geared toward the digital age. From on-demand virtual classes to customised programmes, Growth Tribe can build the necessary skills your company needs to take advantage of the digital revolution.

Key Reading:

  • Learn how Haier helped to implement its operating model when it acquired US-based GE Appliance.
  • Read about how to create participatory change rather than top-down change.

Christopher Flores

Transformation Consultant