Control? Due Diligence? Distrust? Lack of Imagination?

9 02 2008

For decades we operated closed systems controlling who designed, delivered and received the credit from standards to best practices to industry guidelines. To some members and observers it was seen as a kind of feudal system.You can almost envision a castle surrounded by a moat with kings and queens, dukes and duchess, knights and serfs. A cultural of entitlement reigned as IP protection systems safeguarded all who served the system inside the walls.

Kind of like this…

Today many IMO’s are tracking the slow trend of negative growth in membership as older players retire or change careers while student members “vote” with their feet as upon graduation they never take their expected place as young professional members around the roundtable.

Why?

Could it be they see a closed system that does not relate to their own views about career, profession and group interaction? Do they perceive a sense of distrust among the “chosen” or “entitled” class? Is the system stacked against those who prefer to pursue ideas and outcomes rather than to follow older “pay your dues” methods that keep power with those with tenure? Or is it a lack of imagination? A lack of recognition in how new generations want to interact, collaborate, and achieve?

Forrester Research conducted a fascinating study on how different generations use the Internet. It may hold part of the answer to these questions. And whoever is in charge of “due diligence” better study up.

Running from left to right in columns are the generations from the NetGeneration/Millenials (the largest – those under 22 years), Gen Y, Gen X, two groups of Boomers, and Seniors. The rows represent different types of ways people prefer to use the Internet. From top to bottom they represent preferences of engagement from the most (the lean forwards) to the least (the lean backs). Turns out just like different styles of learning, people have different preferences for online activity.

What is critical to appreciate is how from old to new you can see the tremendous change in how people prefer to create, consume and collaborate. As you might expect, the older you are the least likely you are to be active online. I saw this first hand in many board rooms and among established experts in the ICT industry who amazingly were totally ignorant of how the world is changing despite their expertise and credentials.

This slide is super critical to appreciate. If you are segmenting your customers be sure to include generational segmentation as you examine product design and delivery or governance models. You ignore the coming shift at your own peril.

Here is an interesting example of what I mean.This Millenial plays video games. He hates Sony’s new product so much that he created his own “video of complaint” and posted to YouTube…1.8 million views later I found it last summer. Today that number is over 3 million.

This couldn’t have been done ten years ago by one person with an idea and a PC. And would have cost $100,000.This video is an illustration of the expertise, passion, knowledge and creativity that “lives beyond the walls” of your closed system.

Do your due diligence…. Examine new models…. Embrace more open systems …. Or become marginalized slowly like the air running out of a balloon.

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