The transition is happening

The introduction of consumer-driven Web 2.0 technologies into businesses is set to usher in a new phase of productivity growth that could surpass that achieved during the late-1990s internet boom, according to John Chambers, chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems.

These technologies include consumer-oriented social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Quoted in a Financial Times interview, Chambers said:

We are at the very beginning of the next phase of creativity, that will last, I think, a minimum of 10 years, probably 15 years. But it will have more impact because … the power of [connecting] many to many allows you to do things at a dramatically different speed.

In the FT article, Chambers said that social networks, collaborative websites like wikis, teleconferencing and other technologies that allow interaction on a large scale could change entire business models.

He also highlights a point that isn’t uncommon with many organizations:

[…] While a lot of people say that’s very possible or even [probable], just like in 1996-97, there’s a hesitancy … about taking risk by some of the established companies.

That hesitancy he mentions reminds me of a similar point that crops up in most conversations I have with companies when discussing social media, virtual communities and organizational communication.

In one of the decks I use in awareness-raising workshops I run for some companies, I have this slide which typically stimulates quite a bit of discussion:


Those quotes are from an excellent series of reports by CIO Insight last March. While those reports are specifically to do with Second Life, the key point about time (not much of it) and its broad application is valid.

This fits squarely with Chambers’ point on “other technologies that allow interaction on a large scale.”

I think I need to change the title of this slide to read: The Transition is Happening.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. David Phillips

    It is very hard to explain the extent of change. In PR there are people who still cannot believe that the Internet is changing them, families, work and clients. Over the weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a senior manager of a big company (MD top 200).

    He knows. He has no doubt. He cannot see an end game.

    In our conversation I spent some time explaining how ubiquitous communication disrupts hierarchies and departmental divisions and changes how management is exercised.

    He then ran through a series of examples in his own organisation and how, now knowing how it has changed, what new thinking the board needs to engage in.

    This man has a powerful PR manager paid a six figure salary.

    Presumably, the quill nib is still wet.

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