“The ‘surplus society’ has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices and similar quality.” Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle, Funky Business. This is the heart of the “Connection Economy” concept. We cannot differentiate ourselves on the traditional “P’s” of marketing (product, price, placement, promotion), but increasingly have to rely on a fifth “P” – people. WHO you are is becoming more important, and WHAT you sell is becoming less so. It is an environment dominated by globalisation, constant change, advanced telecomms and multinational companies.
So what must companies do to adapt to this new economy? There are many places to go for answers to this question: Quantum Theory (Margaret Wheatley is the best business thinker in this space), Systems Theory (see Peter Senge and now Stephen Covey), Games Theory and the Open Source movement. Each of these provides hints on how to adapt to this new environment.
In each of these systems of thought, there are recurring themes of building feedback mechanisms, empowering the edges of the network, and creating communities. These three activities seem to be central to success and resilience in the connection economy.

Feedback mechanisms require the right input and the right response. All of the new telecomms tools and connectivity means that there are vast amounts of data available about processes, customers, and the external world. These must be managed, and constant feedback sought and tracked.
Empowering the edges of the network means that your employees, customers, and partners must be empowered to make decisions and changes on their own. This will have the added benefit of increasing the agility and response time of the organisation as well.
Creating communities is about inviting and participating, not just listening and serving.
I’d be interested in other trends people are seeing.

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