Stop talking about people

In research just made public by one of the major banks in Norway, businesses where asked why they were investing in an online presence. The answers presented a bit of a revelation.

The top three answers were all connected with consumer demand, which are all OK points to make, but when compared to the three least popular responses, all linked to business incentives, it seems the focus has been turned a bit up-side-down
. It seems businesses are more focused on doing what their customers say, at a cost, rather than doing it for themselves – doing stuff where the company has identified a direct business advantage from having a presence online and want to take advantage of the opportunity.

– This cost-driven strategy might also explain the dreary state of Internet offers today. Where most companies find being just as good as every other brand in their category is good enough – there is no money in it!

THIS IS IMPORTANT, because we are overly focused on talking about people and staring into this black box of consumer habits and behaviors. With extensive demands being added by social media, demand that only a few companies find interesting enough to take on. (It’s more “Lets avoid a mistake”-thinking than “This is an opporuntiny”-thinking as Jon Steel would have said)

But this is hopefully all about to change…

The next generation of online activities will be inherently linked to business advantage, rather than consumer demand

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. And by that we should also see the real money being poured in, not just marketing pocket lint.

Interesting? This is a good start: Business Model Generation.

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  1. this really doesn’t solve the problem of doing something well though. sure, if they’re doing it for biz objective then there is probably more invested in the project but then you might be minimizing input from the “people” side of things – apple, as usual, does a good job of this:

  2. June 23

    Hi John, good comment.
    I completely agree, and the world is a nuanced place.

    I’m just trying to put the idea across that we need to think more about the business aspect of things, as the impression is that the people are getting all the attention. It needs to be weighted more. But as you point out, and we both agree; neither of us shower in hot or cold water, it is always the balance that we need to look for.


  3. Hi Helge!

    In the end it’s all about the ability to see the big picture, to work with multi-disciplinary people and to synthesize. Better called design thinking. I believe the greatest power of companies is the ability to innovate successfully. Creativity, talent etc. they can’t be bought with money.

    A quote of Darwin:
    “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

    So the ones that innovate are the leaders that others have to adapt to to survive. As I said before, adapting is more about creativity, the heuristic mind, then the ones with the most money. Take the music industry, the lack to innovate because they believe that money buys them success kills them slowly at the moment. And this is not the only example. Take Skype(vs. classic Telco’s), Wikipedia(vs. Encarta) and Apple vs. Microsoft.

    Successful innovation is not only about the customer focus. It’s the ability to combine and synthesize technical feasibility with value for customers(desirability) and a economically attractive business model for(viability). Most people that work on innovations focus on one of the aspects. For example science only focussed on the technical aspect and does not care that much about the desirability or the feasibility.

    So i think your completely right with this article. But it is important to focus on the customer. But not only on that part, it’s about finding a good combination of desirability, feasibility and viability.

    Maybe interesting to watch:

    Robert van Geenhuizen

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