Smart Power at Africom and Boeing, A key business model for the intangible capital economy

Today?s New York Times explains the role of the U.S. military in this week?s multilateral efforts to create a no-fly zone over Libya. The effort is led by a group called Africom that is:
the military?s first ?smart power? command. It has no assigned troops and no headquarters in Africa itself, and one of its two top deputies is a seasoned American diplomat?. is intended largely to train and assist the armed forces of 53 African nations and to work with the State Department and other American agencies to strengthen social, political and economic programs in the region, including improving H.I.V. awareness in African militaries and removing land mines.
This is the creation of a knowledge-based strategy for the U.S. military, leveraging its deep expertise in logistics, strategy and organizational development. If the U.S. did this ourselves, it would be too expensive?both in terms of dollars and political capital. But if the U.S. helps others do it, we are leveraging our knowledge and creating capacity in other nations.

There are huge political and strategic implications here that merit a lot of further discussion (as should any outsourcing decision in any organization). But for now, I want to focus on the ?business model? of Africom. Because I see a parallel between this and the case of Boeing.

I?ve written a number of times about the Boeing 787, the new jet built with an unprecedented level of outsourcing and collaboration with Boeing suppliers. It hasn?t been an easy path and Boeing has received a lot of criticism. But I believe that Boeing is way ahead of everyone in taking this approach and learning from their mistakes long before others even think about trying this strategy.

And be sure that every successful organization will have to try this strategy in some form in the coming years. The essence of the intangible capital economy is maximizing the leverage of knowledge. And the best way to do that is to expand the network across which your knowledge is spread.

Smart Power. It?s about leveraging intangible capital.

Want to learn the basics of IC? Check out the free downloads from Intangible Capital: Putting Knowledge to Work in the 21st Century O....

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