If you take the Industrial revolution which brought mass production – it was a series of inventions from steam power, iron, chemicals which all made possible the development of the transport system which was central to business success as it was the network of canals, railways that delivered the product to the market.
Steam power also enabled mass printing which had the effect of educating the workforce through the written word.
So as 'power' became available….the people became empowered.
When you are living through such a transition in business modelling you don't realise the impact on your ability to make a profit and in a sense that is what I think we are doing now in the Social Revolution. Yes we can see the power of the web, yes we can see people are empowered BUT if we assume that this is a journey towards a new social business model, how do we plan today for a social business of tomorrow?
You see for me – the Internet is like steam power, the web like the canals, social media the printed press but once we can see the the full impact on consumers and the effect of moving power to the consumer…then we will understand what the social business era, actually was!
This represents some of what I am studying in my PhD, because if we can connect the dots before our competitors then we can benefit first from the social business era. Some questions that I think leadership and business management should be asking now are
- If social media is the first step – how can we make our whole business social?
- If social media is educating our consumer's how can we help educate and help them use that new knowledge?
- If we accept that business transformation is underway then let's start imagining a world in which social media is old hat….e.g canals were replaced with air freight – the same purpose but different method. Social or connection will remain the purpose but we need to develop new methods.
The social business era is progressing, if you try and stop progress then you will be left behind. If you want to be part of the PhD or believe you have a contact or business that should be highlighted as part of this transition let me know at email@example.com