As promised, here is the third set of excerpts from my upcoming book, The New Polymath due in June. The book is built around 8 “Polymaths” like GE (excerpt from that chapter here) and showcases 11 building blocks for the Polymath to leverage. Each corresponds to an alphabet in the book’s RENAISSANCE framework . Here is the first one – R for Residence – to highlight the trend of the last few years where we have given the consumer unbelievable access to technology – and how that empowered consumer is changing every aspect of business.
BTW - The text is pre-copy edit and likely to go through some changes.
“The Wii reshaped our expectations of computer interfaces; the Kindle, our expectations of books. Electronic House magazine has celebrated houses with all kinds of home theaters and elaborate security systems. eBay has built a cottage industry of individuals doing business from home. JetBlue has moved call reservations to agents working from home. SOHO is no longer just a Manhattan neighborhood but a growing revenue category for technology companies as the acronym for small office, home office.”
“Snowhorn and Wald and Scott are increasingly the new consumer, and they are changing expectations of the technology they expect from every industry, not just from the high-tech industry.
Take hospitality: “Somewhere along the way . . . the hotel industry fell behind with regards [sic] to the in-room technology. Even in high end luxury or resort level hotels, the average guest settles for an in-room technology package that was far less than what he or she had available at home. “
And sporting arenas—no slouches when it comes to adopting technology— having to react to home theaters with HD and 3-D TV and surround sound: “That has forced sports officials to rethink the game experience and desperately attempt to bring the living room to the game, not the other way around.”
“Indeed—bring the living room to the game, not the other way around. And increasingly you don’t even need Snowhorn’s high-powered, data center of a house to stake a claim for such a living room. If Cardinal Richelieu were alive today, he would surely be tempted to write: “The Den
Pen is Mightier than the Board Sword.””
“Some companies are trying the superficial—let’s “put a lipstick on the pig,” - change the user interface to look more “cool,” and use language and graphics in manuals younger employees can relate to. That will not help with Mia Lindheimer, who knows treasure hunts are not for Easter alone. Since she was six she has been geocaching. In this game, people set up caches all over the world and share their locations on the Internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. How do you find more about the game? “Oh, just Google it,” she says to the annoyance of her father, who works at Microsoft and would rather she say “Bing it.””
“Enterprises are gradually waking up to the fact there is no law precluding them from using products aimed at consumers themselves, sometimes at startling savings”
“Enterprises have a poor track record with technology projects. Embedding technology in products, in some ways, jeopardizes more than an IT project—it could tarnish brands and lead to product liability”
“Back to Southwest Airlines : a small army of its employees had for days to handle massive web traffic set off by Hollywood director, Kevin Smith and his more than 1.5 million Twitter followers. He was bumped from one of their flights earlier this year and took his grievance to his community. The new “social customer” discussed further in Chapter 17 shares positive - and negative - commentary with lightening speed and incredible reach. But does he or she represent the average customer? One of the biggest risks with the consumerization trend is that a focus on the tech-savvy customer may distract from other, more mainstream customers”