Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy


Work Study

ISSN: 0043-8022

Article publication date: 1 July 2000




Meyer, C. and Davis, S. (2000), "Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy", Work Study, Vol. 49 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy

Christopher Meyer and Stan DavisAddison-WesleyISBN: 0201339870$25

Keywords Organizational change, Knowledge workers, Planning

The thesis behind this book is that everything is a blur because of three important factors:

  1. 1.

    Connectivity. Everything and everybody are becoming more and more interconnected, so that no person or company can act on its own.

  2. 2.

    Speed. The speed of economic activity is continuously accelerating, so that fast business reaction time is becoming a major key to success.

  3. 3.

    Intangibles. Intellectual and emotional involvement are becoming more important factors than the specific product or service you sell, so that these intangibles must be placed high on your marketing-priority list.

Thus, there is blurring of:

  • Products and services. Many products are becoming software intensive and possess many aspects of service. Similarly, services are standardised, modularised and packaged, just as products are. Thus, instead of differentiating, we are all, according to the authors, making "an offer".

  • Buyer and seller. In addition to the exchange of offers and money in transactions, there are two other channels: one for the exchange of information, the other for the exchange of emotion. And in these latter exchanges, the roles of buyer and seller may be reversed.

  • Organization and market. There no longer is a clear boundary between a business and the outside world. It is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between what happens inside a business and outside.

As a result of this blurring, the authors suggest that good, old-fashioned strategic planning no longer works. Prediction of the future, which is the first step in most planning exercises, is futile: the speed of change is too great. Many of the factors affecting the success of a company depend on the acts of outsiders, and on intangibles. The major strategic consideration becomes adaptability. How can a business adapt rapidly to changes in the market?

Davis and Meyer suggest: increasing variety by increasing churn in your "offers", knowledge and people; depending on market forces rather than on internal planning; and building "economic webs" with other economic players.

The aim is to understand and relate to the outside world by building networks and communities within which one learns and adapts. Simple, isn't it!

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