Year in Review—2007: A Slow Boil Overture to Pervasive Social Transformation

Year in Review 2007—Editor’s Choice of the Global Human Capital Journal

Year in Review 2007: the editor's choiceAs I reflect on 2007 and create strategy for 2008, several macro-trends come into sharp relief, and I believe that some of them might be helpful to you as you conduct your own planning. As always, I focus on emerging phenomena because they are areas in which disruption and discontinuous change are acting on markets, thereby elevating threats and opportunities. Helping leaders to create strategy to manage the risk of unusual market developments is the focus of my consulting practice.

In 2007 it became clear to me that we were entering a profound social transformation that would produce an unimaginable degree of change. Unlike the technology-precipitated change that I’ve been helping people with since the 1990s, technology is shifting to the background now, and pervasive social change is taking the stage. Look for disruption in all areas affected by how people connect, communicate, purchase and collaborate: business, politics, community and leisure. Moreover, these changes are completely global with all the variations that engenders.

I can’t tell you […]

Forrester Consumer Forum 2007—Web 2.0 Poised to Cross the Chasm in 2008

Case Studies Presage Imminent Adoption of Social Technologies—Emerging Markets Prize In Balance

Forrester Consumer Forum 2007 ChicagoA who’s who of global marketing executives convened on the Hilton Chicago October 11-12, 2007 for two days of cramming on social networks, emerging technology and transformation. It certainly felt like an inflection point: analysts’ insights and technology pioneers’ zeal were tempered by corporate stories in the trenches. Based on my experience with previous adoption curves, I predict a significant jump in Web 2.0 adoption by corporations next year.

Depending on your industry, the next six months will be your last chance to be early to market. As success stories become more widespread and executives realize that Web 2.0 has very low barriers to adoption due to the social Zeitgeist and a relatively low price point, the use of social technologies will rapidly become mainstream. The main barrier to adoption is cultural resistance and organizational inertia.

Although this was not a technology conference, in my conclusions, I will provide some insights about why and how Web 2.0 represents a fundamentally new technology value proposition that makes it disruptive—and […]

AT&T CEO Unveils Telecoms Vision at Convergence Conference

Redefining the Industry to Remain Relevant—The Significance of AT&T’s Big Bet on Mobile

DH_AT&T_stephensonAt Digital Hollywood Chicago, AT&T was busy redefining itself as a 21st century communications provider, and we believe that will increasingly mean focusing on content to provide profits. An AT&T veteran but new in 2007 as CEO, Randall Stephenson keynoted the conference by sharing his vision for AT&T and the future of the industry.

Telecoms provide the network infrastructure of distributed computing and global communications, but infrastructure is a tough business with thin margins and high capital requirements. All telecoms are trying to move up the value chain to escape commoditization pressure and relentless price competition. For example, Sprint is betting heavily on WiMAX to redefine itself as the enabler of digital relationships.

In the context of telecoms redefinition, AT&T’s alliance with Apple could be very strategic for each company, as AT&T can use Apple’s design excellence to increase subscribers and push advanced network services while Apple needs a telecom partner to drive its relevance in the growing third screen market with the iPhone. According to Stephenson, the industry […]

Reading between the Lines: Apple's New Business Strategy

Reading between the Lines: Apple’s New Business Strategy reveals why Apple could emerge as a three-screen player par excellence.

Reading between the Lines: Apple's New Business StrategyApple’s name change in early 2007 was heralded as the company’s redefinition as a consumer products company. The conventional wisdom held that the lion’s share of the run-up of Apple’s stock price had been due to the excitement of the iPod and the successful rekindling interest in the company’s Macintosh computers. Moreover, Apple’s stock had limited headroom because consumer electronics heavies were getting into the market for music players, and this would leech profits. The iPhone looked great, but it was overpriced in a hyper-competitive market; it wouldn’t penetrate much beyond a few gadget freaks.

This prevailing view works great for Apple because it keeps people focused on the wrong things—literally. Apple’s business strategy is far more profound. It goes far beyond the SIC, hardware or even software. It is an experience strategy based on content and communications.

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