Steve Grossman

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Information in the information age

Business Design in the Information Age

I realized today that more and more of my life is moving to “the cloud.” For instance, instead of using e-mail – computer to computer communication – I’m increasingly communicating via pages online. Pages on Facebook, LinkedIn or the corporate intranet site at my company (built by Jive). I even tweeted that I’m “slowly moving to the cloud and getting excited.”

Then I read three articles that brought more clarity to where we’re headed technologically and what that means for business. The first was an exploration of the bigger picture behind “social media”. In a post entitled From Social Media to Social Business Design, David Armano asks: “Imagine if a company like GM, was at the core “social”. Not just participating in “social media”—but through every part of their business ecosystem, were connected—plugged into a collective consciousness made up of ALL their constituents, from employees to consumers to dealers, to assembly line works etc.”

It’s the right question.

While it’s certainly true that participating in social media can accomplish x, it is much more powerful when the x is an unknown that happens as a result of communication and relationship building. Both of which require listening. Active, participatory listening. Companies that can tap that will be far ahead of those that don’t. As David says: “Media has never solved…(sic) why would “social media” be any different?”

The true and revolutionary benefits of social media will come to companies that have cultures of communication driven research, problem solving and innovation empowered by the tools of social media.

Which brings me to the second article: The Role of the CTO & CIO in Cloud Computing by Renven Cohen and particularly his closing points: “I believe we are in the midst of a realtime information revolution. No longer can we sit back and analyze what happened yesterday, we must focus on what is happening now or even what will happen tomorrow. Those companies who have the most efficient access to a realtime data stream will dominate…”

And while Cohen was using his thoughts to support his ideas about the role of executives, it strikes me as relevant to every aspect of business design.

No one will argue that we live in a “happening now or even what will happen tomorrow” world. We are all feeling the pressure of streaming information and the inherent overload. And the way we most often deal with overload is to run to constants and normals. But it’s important to see the big picture. The macro economic and cultural reality of the birth of the information age.We’re not dealing with new versions of old things, we’re dealing with new versions of new things.

Twitter isn’t telegraph, e-mail, instant messaging, search, helpdesk, information desk, useless or useful. It’s all the above and far more. We aren’t simply moving what we used to do in Word to Google Docs or the corporate intranet (the cloud), we’re creating an entirely new way to collaborate, share and create.

And entirely new ways of doing things are only embraced by organizations that decide to embrace them. And that’s done by design.

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Filed under: Business_models, Trends

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