Business 2010: Mapping the New Commercial Landscape Hardcover – 7 Aug 2003
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What does the future hold for business? What will be the impact of new technologies, changing markets and shifting demographics? How will the forces of globalisation evolve? Based on 'seen' trends and technologies rather than speculative, 'blue sky' thinking, this ground-breaking book offers a plausible view of future business environments - their opportunities and threats - to 2010. Written by leading futurologists Ian Pearson and Michael Lyons, Business 2010 will help you understand the key upcoming developments - in business, society, technology and markets - and how you can take advantage of them. Essential reading.
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I would suggest that interested readers have a look Frances Cairncross's "Company of the Future" and magazines like "Wired" if they want really want to get in tune with changes that the Internet and new technologies are bringing to our world.
There's no blue sky sci-fi here: the predictions, whether you agree with them or not, are all hard-headed business. The authors claim 85% accuracy from their previous predictions and confidently expect the same in this book. As they say:
"...predicting technological capabilities over the next ten years is relatively straightforward. What is difficult is predicting which capabilities will be exploited and how..."
What makes the book so interesting and valuable is that the authors "show their working". Starting with a brief description of technological trends already in play, such as biomimetics, increased bandwidth, WiFi and artificial intelligence, they plot the network of interactions with social and economic trends to estimate the probable future. Business 2010 may be aimed at corporate leaders and entrepreneurs, but if Pearson and Lyons are close to correct, there won't be many people whose lives don't drastically change before the end of the decade.
We are already seeing the leading edge of some of the changes that the authors detail: the automation of most administrative and call-centre type jobs and the geographic dispersal of many knowledge workers, often to their homes. But Pearson and Lyons look further into the future and see the "de-skilling" of many professions, such as medicine, law and management. All these tasks can be done more cheaply and reliably by software. "Personal care" workers may thrive, but those of us who aren't in the tiny minority of highly sought-after creative geniuses, can expect a continuing and stressful cycle of redundancy and retraining.
Who are the institutional losers? The authors see a hollowing out of power, a movement towards purely local organizations on the one hand and global entities on the other. National governments will become increasingly irrelevant as bits flow across country borders. Corporations will also lose out to smaller "virtual companies" and "virtual co-operatives of workers", electronically created organizations with no geographically identifiable location that are quickly formed and eliminated as needed. Only mines and factories will change more slowly:
"...General Motors is more likely to survive another 20 years than Microsoft..."
Substantive debate about the future of the "jobs economy" in industrialized nations and about international governance has hardly started. Pearson and Lyons have made an excellent start towards a more thoughtful and less politicized dialog.
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