How outsourcing + gig economy have broken old paradigms of control and released autonomy and innovation

Companies are constantly increasing the number of outsourced tasks and teams. The number of freelancers working gigs in many companies at the same time as skyrocketed.

One of the welcome consequences of this accelerated trend is a dramatic increase in innovation and decrease in control. Both good.

The power and control of a few (still surprisingly present in traditional companies) is terribly outdated and one of the biggest risks to their business. Statements such as this from former Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley “Only the CEO has the enterprise-wide perspectives to make tough calls and decide what is our business” is totally flawed because the amount of new insights, new trends, information flows is such that the knowledge lies with the wider network of your team and no one single person can have that bigger picture.

The bigger picture and best decisions to be taken now (not after five meetings up the decision making ladder), lie in the midst of the network, it emerges from the joint knowledge and insights of the group of individuals you work with.
Even relying “just” on your team, on your people is not good enough. So the freelancers you call in from time to time to outsource much of your work are the people who can bring in further insights of what they experiences in their gig last week. They take you ahead of the rest who only rely on old and more limited knowledge from the “smaller” group of your own team.

The second powerful drive of innovation is letting go of control. With more and more outsiders working for your organization, this diffusion of control is guaranteed. It has to be managed but it is a welcome breath of autonomy that everyone will benefit from as long as a unity of vision, a clear purpose that drives everyone is balanced by that liberty and freedom to take the best decisions at the right moment by the right people.

The most agile, innovative, resilient (and great places where to work) depend on this new purpose-driven autonomy that outsourcing has accelerated.

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