Inspired by the HBR November 2011 issue's cover story What Great Companies Do Differently I thought, are we good? What is the meaning of "good"?
I remember, in traditional theories the notion dominated: good companies transform something into big margins. In our case it would be knowledge? Are we a machine that generates money from knowledge?
When I worked in the factory automation business it seemed quite simple. Good companies had sophisticated products represented in sophisticated blueprints and industrial practices of highly automated discrete manufacturing, adopting Japan's quality-driven production schemes. Innovations in technical computing were geometric modeling, kinematics and dynamics of mechanisms in order to program and control flexible manufacturing systems of CNC machine tools, robots and automated vehicles, chaotic stores, ...
When economy of scale became important and companies strived to become world enterprises the metrics of goodness was: shareholder value. Multinational tech and pharmaceutical industries dominated the lists of business leaders. Innovative computing meant enterprise-wide, integrated systems to optimizing planning and operations.
With the emergence of the Silicon Valley innovative company became the synonym for good company. Not so much for blueprint innovation, but for what I call: naive innovation.
The innovation atop of universal machines that are not mere tools. Computers and their open networks. Not surprisingly the acceleration of the innovative spiral led to bursting bubbles, the .com bubble the most spectacular. But it developed a broadband infrastructure that enabled the emergence of "social networks" and what have you today.
In the petabyte and petaflop age, the scientific method - have a hypothesis and test it - might become outdated and replaced by brute force methodologies and data analysis and presentation techniques.
In this century we had crises that seemed to have clear cause but it turned out that they are layered and overlapped.
As one of the consequences it is recommended that good companies produce social as well as economic values?
In computing, we have open source movements, public grid initiatives and cloud computing (virtualization), ... driving innovation.
Today, as public anger against the financial industry grows, what social values can be produced by us technology providers?
What is social when contributing to the quantitive approach to managing risk?
First, we deliver know-how packages - the financial business is risky enough, no need to add technological black-box risk.
Second, with UnRisk-Q we unleash our own development environment - why not enable creative developers to transform their knowledge into solutions without reinventing foundations?
Third, our licensing and pricing is bottom up, not market clearance - UnRisk position is highest possible value at the lowest possible price.
Is this luxury?
No. We are a comparatively small outfit.
We were lucky to chose generic technologies and tools that enable us to develop quickly and cost-effective.
We also work on the most complicated technical problems (combustion engines, chemical reactors, metallurgical processes, observatory, ...) that require similar mathematical schemes and approaches as quantitative finance and use the synergy.
And we are and will remain an independent boutique without ambitions for uncontrollable growth. We rather built an enterprise without borders.
It is not that we do not want to make money, but it is as essential to earn recognition by our blend of competences in financial engineering, technologies, models, methods and implementations.