Turning Inside Out
Each successive technology in human history has changed how we produce and consume—what today we might call the business environment—creating winners and losers. Fifteen years ago the Internet began to sweep through the marketplace, enabling a set of innovations and creating a new set of companies across many established industries. The existing businesses that owned bookstores, travel agencies, video rental businesses, and media companies were challenged by these new companies, but in many cases continued on their pre-Internet paths rather than adapting to the direction these new companies were. As a result, many companies that had been established name brands no longer exist or are shells still struggling to respond to what happened.
Today, every company I walk into as a consultant is complaining about the same challenges and asking the same set of questions about the next wave of the Internet, the next transformation, which will be driven by the social mobile cloud.
The head of customer service for a consumer software company and the chief operating officer (COO) of a large quick service restaurant chain both said a version of “I don't know who my customers are, and I don't know how to connect with them to learn what they want or how we can serve them better.”
The chief executive officer (CEO) of a national recruiting and staffing organization and the chief marketing officer at a sports equipment company said, “We only engage with people in a ...