How the shift from dream society to the age of individual control will change the way you do business.
I had the opportunity to read this book during a long flight to the West Coast, written by Rolf Jensen and Mika Aaltonen and published by McGraw-Hill I was expecting a futuristic perspective on how our society will evolve, this book delivered much more.
The authors build their business case for predicting the future by reviewing the past and our existing economic conditions and comparing them to emerging markets (East). They do this convincingly, creating 3 clear, distinct and interconnected scenarios:
1) The Renaissance Society; where a new society renounces the existing organizing principles and begins to reorganize themselves from the bottom-up in daily practices and communities.
2) The Green Society: a must scenario as societies that destroy their environments, destroy themselves.
3) The Risk Society; changes in technology will push our knowledge further, but we will take advantage of them for industrial use.
Throughout the book they take into consideration looking at the US market, but also all of the Western economies as compared to developing countries and Eastern markets and the trends that will drive change. Increasing wealth, GDP and the rise of the middle class in non-Western markets will cause major shifts and as the Western economies mature they must and will re-invent themselves. This will drive the “happiness factor” that rising GDP brings, but with the wealth of the West a new focus on positive emotional well-being in increase.
The greatest three sentences in the book, especially for our sales/marketing readers is: “My advice is to ask what kind of emotional appeal your product has. If the answer is none, you are in a commodity market; you are most likely engaged in fierce price competition. Add emotions, add a story, and make your product unique.”
Chapter 7 is where the author’s summarize their findings and their conclusions are reasoned and concise. Fact: World Bank estimates that by 2025 six emerging economies alone will account for half of the global economy. The East is catching up because economies are driven by “dream’s, not by governments (a constant theme in the book). The East is now going through an extremely materialistic era, and the West is mature.
Anyone working in business and driving a global business must read/ understand this chapter as you plot your long term strategies. To those of us in today’s business the authors define the 5 changes for the West:
1) Emotionalize: companies must have values and employee’s must connect to them
2) Personalize: customers must be treated uniquely
3) Decentralize: all units should be smaller, more innovative
4) Innovate: focus on being bold
5) Feminize; good relations are seen as more important for results
All good topics to review during your mid-year business assessment: Where are we heading? What is working? What hasn’t worked? What needs to be changed? Reading this book has opened many new thoughts to consider while working with my clients, read it and see what it does for your organization.