One of the charateristics of the I-Cubed Economy is the fusion of manufacturing and services. Here is a good example from the Wall Street Journal story – “For Now, the Focus Is More on Innovation Than on Budget Cuts” – which highlighted that paragon of the industrial age, John Deere:
Last year, Deere formed two business groups: the intelligent mobile-equipment technology group and the Agri Services group, which is developing and marketing new services to help farmers grow more uniform crops. Last summer, the unit collected data from more than 300,000 acres of cotton fields so farmers knew precisely where to spray fertilizer.
Agri Services also aims to tell food companies and consumers more about what they’re buying. If a cereal company learns that certain crops make production easier or result in a better-tasting product, it may pay more for them. “We’ll be able to trace exactly what’s in the food we’re eating, where it was grown and what was done to it at every point in the food-production chain,” says Dan McCabe, senior vice president at Agri Services.
Many manufacturing companies have built businesses around servicing their own products. Deere has gone beyond that to build a business around their knowledge-base. In my mind, that is the mark of an I-Cubed Economy company!