Chapter 10. The Path Ahead

Changes came fast enough in the eighties and nineties, but the year 2001 really lit the afterburners. The collapse of the dot-com bubble was followed in turn by the ripple effects from September 11 and the extremely upsetting collapse of Enron. As businesses scramble to respond, these three very different but powerful events have created challenges for organizations on three fronts:

  1. They must reposition the Internet in their business plans

  2. They must plan for wildly unforeseen world events

  3. And they must conduct complete reviews, if not complete restructuring, of their financial reporting

This is all for the good, of course. These seemingly unrelated but cascading events have forced issues that needed to be reformed. They are issues that call for change and increased communication within the organization and beyond it.

In this chapter, we explore trends that already are taking hold in large companies and will trickle down to smaller companies as reports of their success, best practices, and value circulate. We've alluded to some of these trends already. We point out the need for changes in accounting practices for businesses to quantify the value of their knowledge networking assets. Return on investments made to foster productive online conversation must be demonstrated to justify further investment in building both social capital and knowledge flow.

We can see much of the future forming in the present. To help put these trends into words, we call on some of ...

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