The message is that this is not an either/or choice. Companies must manage both simultaneously to be flexible enough to capitalize upon the opportunities afforded a Knowledge Economy. However, as Bruce Bond, CEO of PictureTel, told a recent MIT audience, "We are in a transition period between one era to another in which the old rules do not apply and the new ones have yet to be invented."
To reinforce the imagery, I described the trapeze artist who must let go of one bar before catching the other and for a moment is suspended. For many, this described their uncomfortable uncertainty with this future economy that is evolving.
However, to Frances MacCarty (E-mail: email@example.com), one of the conference participants, it touched a chord with a book she was reading in Spanish 'Guerreros del Corazon' (Warriors of the Heart), Danaan Parry, Gaia Ediciones, Madrid, Spain (1996). She took the time to translate the short text into English (the book was originally published in English several years earlier!) which we provide below for those who seek to reconcile the two managerial worlds.
Converting the fear of transformation into the transformation of fear.
Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapezes. I find myself swinging on a trapeze, or during a few moments, I fling myself across the space that lies between trapezes.
Most of the time, I spend life holding onto the trapeze bar of the moment. I swing myself at a certain speed and I have the sensation that I control my life. I know the right questions and even some of the answers.
But sometimes when I am happily, or not so happily, swinging, I look ahead and what is it that I see in the distance? I see another trapeze coming towards me. It is empty and I know, in that part of me that knows, that this trapeze has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, life that is searching for me. From the bottom of my heart I know that to grow, I must let go of the old trapeze that I know so well, and grab onto the new one.
Every time that this happens to me I hope (no, I pray) to not have to let go of the old trapeze completely before grasping the new one. But in that place where I know, I know that I must let of the old trapeze completely and, for a moment, cross space before being able to grab onto the new one.
I am always very afraid. It doesn't matter that in my previous flights between trapezes I have always been successful. I always fear failing, crashing against the rocks that I can't see at the bottomless chasm below. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what mystics call the faith experience. There is no guarantee, no safety net and no insurance policy but you do it anyway, because to continue holding onto the old trapeze just isn't one of the options anymore. So, during an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lives, I rise above the dark emptyness of "the past gone by, the future not yet come". This is what is called a “transition”. I have come to believe that true change occurs only in these transitions. I mean true change, not the pseudochange that only lasts until the next time the old buttons are pushed.
I have also come to realize that, in our culture, this transition zone is considered to be a “nothing”, an empty non-place between places. Of course, the old trapeze was real and I hope the new one coming towards will also be. But what about the emptyness between? Is it simply an empty space that should be crossed as fast and unconsciously as possible? NO!! This would be to lose a great opportunity. On occasions, I suspect that the transition zone is the only real thing and that the trapezes are illusions that we create to avoid the emptyness in which real change, real growth occurs. Whether or not this be true, what is certain is that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, despite all the pain, the fear and the feelings of being out of control that may accompany (though not necessarily) transitions, these are still the most vivid, full of growth, passionate and expansive moments in our lives.
Jan Wyllie, Trend Monitor
What follows is a sample from the first of a series of products based on Trend Monior's analysis of the content of hundreds of articles analyzed and synthesized each week from the most influential English-language international business and technology publications available in the UK. We hope to provide edited highlights in most editions of I3 UPDATE/ ENTOVATION International News readers, but you can subscribe to the full free weekly Opportunities by sending an email to IEM1a@trendmonitor.com If you are interested in the full picture - risks, strategies, new services, valuations, legislation etc. then please go to the secure Shop at the Trend Monitor Website http://www.trendmonitor.com/sha.htm.
The extracts below are organised under the principal headings of Business, Countries, Technologies and People.
Business to Business (B2B)
--- SMALL BUSINESS (SMEs) BENEFITING FROM THE NEW TRANSPARANCY ---
The new market of Business-to-Business (B2B) is expected to make a "bounty" of information available to small businesses (SMEs), such as finally agreed prices and delivery terms, which hitherto had been "opaque". A new B2B exchange for the chemicals industry publishes trade details, such as price, size and location. This new "transparency" is thought to be "particularly useful" for small companies because it gives them access to knowledge about issues vital in preparing bids.
Business to Customer (B2C)
--- THE FUTURE COULD BE INTERACTIVE DIGITAL TELEVISION RATHERTHAN THE INTERNET---
The findings of research by Japan's MITI and Andersen consulting suggest that B2C could grow "20-fold" over the next five years. However, research by Gallup is published indicating that 42 per cent of people would prefer to carry out home shopping using digital television compared to 26 per cent who would rather use their PC. In the UK, where interactive digital television is now being introduced using the non-Internet based Open secure shopping system, these preferences should be considered in the context of the general expectation that more people will be able to shop through their television by the end of 2000, than those able to connect using their PC. Across Europe, it is predicted that more people will have connected TVs, than connected PCs by 2003.
--- MOBILE COMMERCE (M-COMMERCE) TO BE "AS BIG AS" THE INTERNET ---
A poll by Computer Weekly and Harvard Nash finds that 67 per cent of respondents believe that mobile commerce will having as much impact on B2B trading over next five years as Web-based systems had over the previous five years, if bandwidth and reliability problems are solved. Because Europe is ahead of the US in the mobile phone market, m-commerce is expected to grow fastest there.
---FIRST COUNTRY TO MOVE FROM PAID TO FREE TELECOMS ACCESS---
The UK is the first place outside the US where free telecoms links for Internet access will be tried. The question is how much pent up demand will be released.
---B2B AND LOCAL CONVENIENCE STORES TO BENEFIT MOST---
The opportunities for B2B e-commerce are seen as "even brighter" than B2C because the use of computers at work is so much greater than home use. Local convenience stores such as Seven Eleven have a unique opportunity in Japan to play a critical part by acting as payment and distribution centres for online vendors.
---PLAYGROUND FOR NEW GENERATION OF ENTREPRENEURS---
A new generation of Japanese entrepreneurs see the Internet as an "amazing" opportunity that occurs "only once in 100 years" with huge gains expected from applying the most successful US Internet business models in Japan.
Eastern Europe and Russia
---TIME FOR SERIOUS INVESTMENT--
Dot com entrepreneurial opportunities are beginning to reverse Russia's brain drain lead by Yandex, the search engine developer, which is scheduled to receive a "multi-million dollar" capital investment in the next few weeks. "High profile deals" are reported showing that the financial community is now beginning to take Internet projects very seriously. The positive shift in the accounts of the Polish treasury is described as "dramatic sign" of the effects of "Internet fever" in Central and Eastern Europe.
---MORE EXPONENTIAL GROWTH RATES PREDICTED---
Villages in India which don't even have telephones will be connected to the Internet using Web-enabled television sets. India's Internet user base is predicted "to explode" from two to three million now to 30 to 40 million by 2004.
---OBJECT-ORIENTED MIDDLEWARE IS THE NEXT BIG MARKET---
As the fast increasing number of businesses begin to use the Web for B2B and B2C purposes, they must make secure links between their proprietary legacy systems and data, and the standard Internet-based protocols. The main opportunities thrown up by this new requirement are seen as being with solutions based on standards, such as extensible mark-up language (XML) and standard object-oriented methodologies, such as the Object Management's Group's (OMG) Corba standards, which enable companies to work across boundaries.
---GRID OF ALL KNOWLEDGE BEING PLANNED BY SCIENTISTS---
Scientists are reported devising the successor to the Internet, provisionally known as The Global Knowledge Grid (GKG) or the "Grid", which, according to 'The Financial Times', can instantly access "every piece of data ever collected on the subject" from anywhere in the world and display it in any format required. After the high capacity communications infrastructure is pioneered by academic / IT partnerships, a "huge investment" is expected to be in order to bring its benefits to corporate and home users.
---INCREASED BARGAINING POWER TO BRING LOWER PRICES AND HIGHER QUALITY---
E-commerce is giving consumers the opportunity of taking collective action to move away from big corporate brands using automated aggregated purchasing power. It is also giving consumers a view of world prices which will bring down prices in high priced countries, such as the UK.
---NET COMMERCE CREATES LEVEL PLAYING FIELD FOR JAPANESE WOMEN---
Women are reported having a fast growing role in Japan's net economy and are described as "the main force" behind the surge in e-commerce which sold $3.2 billion in 1999, up "five-fold" from 1998. The Internet and e-commerce are portrayed as enabling a new generation of Japanese business women to trade for the first time on a "level playing field".
Editors Note: We shall be making special offers to I3 UPDATE readers for these services when we launch our new web-site. Watch this space!
There is no Knowledge Economy?
Bo Buma, Stractics
After reading I3 UPDATE I revisited the Entovation Site and still thinking on your article and my response, wrote some related remarks in "share your vision" (it's a bit out of the blue and poorly written - it's a very small box):
I believe there will be no knowledge economy. In that sense. Knowledge will start to roam freely, making its price drop remarkably. Having knowledge will be nothing. There will be so much of it, that the exchange of it will have no price. Helping finding it and helping applying it might be worth something. Companies will lose their grip on knowledge of their employees. Either because employees will turn free-lance or because it will no longer be accepted that the idea of an idea of a "worker" will belong to the company he (accidently at that time) works for. They bought him for 36 hours/week (in Holland that is) of his time, but his brain works 24x7 hours/week. As at the change of feudalism, you can have somebody working for you, but you don't own his body.
Perhaps we didn't realize it, but we already lived in a knowledge economy. Tomorrow knowledge will only be worth the medium it is written on.
Why will it have no price ? Because it never had. The price it had was forced upon it. By law mostly. Once communications in transport developed large national and global markets, knowledge distributed itself faster than the products it created. So laws were drawn up to prevent that. This happened at the same time that the "worker" was invented, nations developed and education was institutionalised.
At some time in the future (and it is already happening) knowledge will be free, the distribution thereof will only exact a prices of the distribution itself. What will exact a price is the ability to apply knowledge, to use it. And it has been this ability that we have most neglected as an asset. The coach, the guildmaster, the artisan, will again be in high demand, and he/she will have restricted audiences for coaching is real interaction.
Maybe (as an afterthought) children have been right all this time: we don't need this knowledge, we want to know how it can be used.
Thanks for the UPDATE by the way, it inspires every time,
Just Published: Developing Knowledge-based Client Relationships
I3 UPDATE / ENTOVATION International News reader Ross Dawson has just completed a lunch tour for his new book 'Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships: The Future of Professional Services', published by Butterworth-Heinemann. Although aimed at professional services it contains generally applicable models for structuring customer contacts and considering customer knowledge. ISBN 0 7506 7185 8
Knowledge Auction Site
We have discussed knowledge markets quite a lot in the past. Nick Bontis (a researcher in intellectual capital at McMaster University) first contacted us after our mentioning the demise of a pioneering knowledge market iqport.com in January to say that there was another knowledge market at http://www.knexa.com "the world's first knowledge exchange auction". Now he tells us that he has just been made CKO. Congratulations. So now we have a Chief Knowledge Officer of a knowledge auction company operating a knowledge market in the knowledge economy. How much more knowledge do you need!
APQC Releases Guidebook for Best Practices in Knowledge Management
This is the first of several books to be released as part of the APQCs' American Productivity and Quality Center's Passport to Success series. The book provides mechanisms to gauge current status, understand the components of a successful knowledge management initiative, and determine how to proceed. More information at http://www.apqc.org.
As usual you will find lots of conferences with knowledge in their titles or on themes such as corporate Portals. Many are tecchy in orientation. These are the pick of the bunch of conferences focused more on new insights or with a management focus.
20-21 March 2000. Managing and Measuring Your Intellectual Capital - Account for Your Knowledge Advantage. Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista. IIR.
27-28 March 2000. Tacit Knowledge Roundtable - Developing, Capturing, and Leveraging Your Employee's Expertise to Drive Profit. Atlanta. IIR.
3-5 April. Knowledge Straetgy for Oil and Gas. London. The fourth in this excellent series of industry specific conferences. First Conferences.
10-13 April 2000. Communities of Practice, SanDiego. Insights and case studies into creating communities and linking communities and organizational performance. IIR.
18-19 May 2000. Knowledge: Management, Measurement and Organization, New York. Ross Institute of Accounting Research, Stern School of Business, New York University.
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