Blockchain — The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review: A book review by Bob Morris

Blockchain: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review
Various Contributors
Harvard Business Review Press (Septmber 2019

How and why Blockchain will reshape your industry. Here’s how to be prepared.

This is one of the first volumes in a new series published by Harvard Business Review Press. Each offers dozens of cutting-edge insights within a business field of greatest importance, especially now when the global marketplace is more volatile, more uncertain, more complex, and more ambiguous than at any prior time that I can recall. In this instance, the field is cryptocurrency.

Each volume anthologizes HBR articles that are among the most relevant and of greatest value. There are seventeen that focus on blockchain, following a superb Introduction by Catherine Tucker. In terms of value, if all seven were purchased separately as reprints, the total cost would be about $155. Amazon now sells a copy of this volume for $22.95. That’s quite a bargain.

Originally, the term was “block chain”: then and now, a series of blocks of data within an organization’s value or supply chain. I think of it as clusters of answers to “what do we need to know about” questions with regard to components such as the customer (needs), the given market (competition), marketing (create/increase demand), production, distribution, and service.

As  Tucker explains, the material presented in Blockchain: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review is organized within three Sections:

1. “Understanding Blockchain is a deep-dive into what blockchain is, covering its history, its current trajectory and its design, and what it can and cannot do.”

2. “Blockchain and Business looks at how business is using blockchain today, thinking about finance, payments, supply chains, marketing, and the creative industry.”

3. “The Future of Blockchain explores blockchain’s power to affect notions of privacy, surveillance, government regulation, and environmental sustainability.”

For me, one of the greatest benefits of this new series is that each volume illustrates what Wayne Gretsky meant when asked to explain why he played hockey better than almost all of his opponents: “They knew where the puck was.  I knew [begin italics] where it was going to be [end italics].”

The information, insights, and counsel in this volume — and in the other series volumes I have read thus far — will help business leaders to see where their competitive market will be in months and even years to come.

Here are two points of my own. First, there are no blockchain issues. Rather, ultimately, there are only [begin italics] business [end italics] issues. Also, it is very important to think in terms of enterprise architecture as your organization’s primary strategy when embracing and then acting upon the insights it needs to prosper.


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