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How C-suite executives are playing the blockchain game

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The competition is heating up as industry leaders across industries such as finance and supply chain explore how blockchain can be used to reimagine the fundamental ways they exchange value and information. However, many C-suite executives (CXOs) are beginning to recognize that blockchain is not a technology that works well in isolation. For the benefits of blockchain to be realized, collaboration and cooperation — across diverse business departments and networks — is vital.

Earlier this year, the IBM Institute for Business Value interviewed almost 3,000 CXOs to learn if and how organization leaders plan to use blockchain to shape their future strategy. Thirty-three percent of those CXOs are already active in blockchain or considering it. The blockchain “explorers” who are already actively using blockchain are proactively tackling increasing disruption and competition from within and outside their industries. Their approach provides insight on how to play the blockchain game.

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Learn the rules of the game

Working with cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain can make you feel like you’ve been dropped into the middle of a playing field without a rule book. The first thing to do? Learn as much as you can so you don’t end up lagging behind or losing your turn. There are early blockchain adopters and use cases you can look to for examples of how to play.

Defining the rules of the blockchain game is a task the Hyperledger community took on when it was established. The collaborative effort, which is hosted by The Linux Foundation, has over 130 members working in concert to create an open, standardized and enterprise-grade distributed ledger framework and code base. Without such standards, it would be difficult to establish blockchain networks because participants might end up playing different versions of the game.

Keep evolving your strategy

The blockchain game is dynamic because new ways of using the technology are still emerging. Staying ahead of the competition means moving fast, pressing the advantage and being ready to pivot when better possibilities present themselves. To do this, blockchain explorers have a well-defined approach to learning and experimentation. Nearly two-thirds reward fast failure in addition to successful innovation, while over 50 percent excel at iterating their strategy through rapid prototyping.

As you participate in projects and pilots to gain experience, you’ll naturally find areas that can be improved, and you’ll need to adjust your current strategy. Early blockchain adopters have an advantage because they can begin to influence the future direction for blockchain applications and new business models. By being first, the explorers aren’t just jumpstarting the evolution of new business models, they’re shaping how they will evolve and the conditions for success.

Join a league

Playing the blockchain game by yourself won’t be much fun. Explorers understand that interaction with others, whether cooperatively or competitively, will help them to become better players. Industry consortia, conferences and other events are great opportunities for finding potential teammates and advancing blockchain knowledge and standards.

On October 11, there will be an IBM Blockchain Summit at the City Club of San Francisco. You can get up to speed on blockchain technologies, hear about use cases and network with local peers, influencers and IBM subject matter experts. Jason Kelley, General Manager of Blockchain Services at IBM, will deliver the keynote on how blockchain is changing the way people do business. I will present findings from the IBV study on blockchain explorers that was referenced in this post. These are just a couple of highlights. You can check out the full agenda and then register for the event. I hope to see you there!

Be sure to connect with the IBM Blockchain community for updates:

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