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Should ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ Mean ‘Creating Jobs for Average Workers’?


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.

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Publicado en Sloanreview.mit.edu

Quick Takes: Why Is Customer Service So Bad?


Andrew McAfee’s plea about customer service
“How can it still be the case, in 2010, that really well-understood technologies (telephony, voice prompts, etc.) are still detracting from customer service, rather than improving it, at some of the largest companies in the world?”

That’s MIT Sloan research scientist Andrew McAfee, wondering in his blog why the American Express Travel Services phone service offers such poor service. None of the possibilities make sense. Leaders aren’t aware? All they have to do is dial their number. They’re aware, but not bothered? “How could they not be?” McAfee asks. “They run a customer service business — it’s all they do — and they just released a study showing that, as their headline put it, ‘Americans Will Spend 9% More With Companies That Provide Excellent Service.’”

McAfee’s third possibility is the most intriguing: Leaders know about the problems, are concerned about the problems, but aren’t planning on doing anything about the problems.

“Maybe they don’t feel like they have the budget, the expertise, or the managerial bandwidth to take on a tech-heavy project now,” McAfee says. “Maybe the issues I experienced only crop up in the particular segment of Amex Travel I was dealing with, or when call volumes are particularly heavy, and so the company is willing to live with them for the time being. But I’m a heavy traveler, the kind of customer they probably want to attract and retain, and I’m sufficiently struck by this lousy tech leading to lousy customer service that I’m sitting around blogging about it.”

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Two Common Mistakes of Millennials at Work


Most if not all of the digital communities where Gen Y has spent time are highly egalitarian. They’re indifferent to pre-existing hierarchies and credentials, and sometimes even hostile to them. And these communities seem to Millennials to work really well; Wikipedia gives them good information on any topic under the sun, Intrade prediction markets tell them who’s going to win elections, Twitter lets them know what’s going on in the world better and faster than any other source, their Facebook friends answer their questions for them, and so on.

All this can make a strong case to Gen Yers that hierarchy and credentialism are passé as concepts, or should be. So when they show up after graduation at their first employer, some of them start acting this way.

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