Fortune 500 firms are taking a leap forward in their use of social media, from Facebook to Pinterest. By Robert Berkman The very largest corporations in the country — those who make up the Fortune 500 — are showing “the first signs…
By Philip Kotler, Bobby J. Calder, Edward C. Malthouse and Peter J. Korsten The ideal role of marketing was articulated 60 years ago. How close to the ideal have we come by now? THE GROWING NUMBER of chief marketing executives reflects…
By Taman H. Powell and Duncan N. AngwinBy understanding how the duties of the chief strategy officer (CSO) can vary significantly from organization to organization, boards and CEOs can make better decisions about which type of CSO is necessary for…
How can a company “get it”? The only way is to hang out with people obsessed with some conclusion about empowering the human experience. To understand early the empowerment that personal computing represented, one would have had to hang out with the members of the Homebrew Computer Club, which spawned Apple Inc. along with about 26 other companies. Similarly, to understand what the empowerment of the automobile would mean, one would have had to hang out with those who made up the inner circle of the early Detroit auto industry. To “get it” means having both the staunchness and the humility to join the dialogue and contribute something — hopefully, an original argument — to the debate; and, if a company cannot contribute even a flawed, or rough, but original argument to the debate, then it can never “get it.”
A company has to do more than look for applications of its technology, acquire technology or just make knock-offs. It has to own a paradigm — a conclusion to an innovation argument. Every business must understand how what it is doing empowers humans. This, plus operational excellence, can make a company almost unstoppable.
It was logical that the two were invited: their new book, Race Against the Machine (Digital Frontier Press, 2011), is on exactly that theme. (Here’s our blog post about the book.)
McAfee’s opening statement, which he posted at his blog, includes this challenge for how we might rethink the meaning of “corporate responsibility”:
It’s also time to change our minds and broaden our definition of ‘social entrepreneurship.’ When we hear that term at present, we think of sustainability, or clean or green tech, or improving the lots and lives of people in the developing world. All of these are worthwhile and wonderful things to do. Here’s another one: create jobs for average workers. Because there aren’t enough of them right now. The greatest scarcity in our economies now is a scarcity not of resources or even of good new ideas, but of opportunity — of chances to let people realize the American Dream, and the English Dream, the Indian and Chinese and Mexican dream.
The Neurological and Creative Toll of Digital Overload
If you’re like a lot of people, during your work day you might check 40 websites. You could be switching between programs such as Word and Excel and your email application 36 times an hour. You probably stop what you’re doing — or at least pause — when a text message buzzes or an email comes in or your cell phone rings.
Matt Richtel, technology reporter for the New York Times, says in an interview on the NPR program Fresh Air that for all the productivity upsides to digital consumption, there are huge downsides, too, including changes in the brain that seem to affect not just the ability to engage in conversation but the ability to be creative, too.
“Twenty years of glorifying all technology as if all computers were good and all use of it was good, I think science is beginning to embrace the idea that some technology is Twinkies and some technology is Brussels sprouts,” Richtel says. “If we consume too much technology, just like if we consume too much food, it can have ill effects. And that is the moment in time we find ourselves in . . .with the way we are digesting, if you will, technology all over the place.”
Richtel notices, he says, that he’s “not quite as engaged in my world when I’m constantly using devices as I am when I’m away from them.” Away from them, “I can give myself over to conversations a little bit differently.”
Awarded a Pulitzer Prize this year for his Times series “Driven to Distraction,” about the dangers of driving while multitasking with cell phones and other devices, Richtel says that the digital glut appears to not just increase distraction but decrease creativity.
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