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The Invisible Continent: Four Strategic Imperatives of the New Economy
The Invisible Continent: Four Strategic Imperatives of the New Economy
by Kenichi Ohmat
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A must read to fully enter the "new economy" continent, 11 Dec. 2003
Make sure to read this book to explore and better integrate this "invisible continent", which is wrapped around all of us.
Kenichi Ohmae is starting his book with following words: "... sudden changes can often be traced to the discovery of new lands-the opening up of contact with a new geographic region with a different way of life. As explorers and settlers have come to new continents, they have shifted their ways of life-not just for themselves, but also for the old worlds they left behind."
"During the past fifteen years... a kind of new continent, existing only in our collective minds, has been discovered-a continent without land" where "people with courage and curiosity have discovered new ways of life."
The author calls this continent " the invisible continent... as palpable and vital, as tangible and solid, as if you could find it on a map." But this metaphor of an "invisible continent" can also be used for the people who do not want to see the changes, even more nowadays after the recent explosion of the "new economy" bubble.
Looking through the glasses of the Kenichi Ohmae becomes surely useful to understand and act in the world we are living in.
Four dimensions are characterising this "invisible continent". They are the visible dimension, the inevitable physical part to deliver goods and services, the borderless dimension, global worldwide markets and operations, the cyber dimension-instant communication and exchanges, the dimension of high multiples allowing huge financial leverage.
The most successful companies in the "new economy" are playing on these four dimensions interactively to thrive at never seen before speed, when in conventional management schools these four dimensions are taught separately, when taught.
The appearance of this new continent, some 18 years ago, was linked to the setting up of platforms, open standards tacitly shared between "new economy" pioneers and consumers, and to the growing role of arbitrage in an increased information fluidity environment to maintain prices down and quality up. If Microsoft Windows is an important platform to communicate in the cyber dimension, English language and dollar currency are two other ones in the borderless dimension, explaining partly the predominance of USA on this new continent. When arbitrage is creating opportunities it creates also uncertainty for long-term commitment and a more unstable environment.
In the new continent the power is shifting from the producers to the consumers with important impact on economical and political decisions.
This is the point where the old and the new have to find answers to questions asked by the introduction in our lives of this new continent.
Kenichi Ohmae's book is becoming our lighthouse in this new territory by presenting the strategies followed by the "new economy" companies but also by exploring the role of politicians to facilitate integration in this "new economy" environment.
Many developed illustrated ideas are real value as: targeting markets with enough consumer power and discretionary income, deregulating crucial economical activities, developing regional entities, setting up the right "new economy" infrastructures etc.
Here are the basics on micro and macro economy to enter in the 21st century.
Reading this book changed my life in making clear the invisible of this new continent. I'm convinced that the Kenichi Ohmae's contribution will be better recognised in coming years and I keep his book at hand to make sure to extract all the richness it contains.

Clicks and Mortar: Passion Driven Growth in an Internet Driven World (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)
Clicks and Mortar: Passion Driven Growth in an Internet Driven World (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership)
by David S. Pottruck
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Build passion to gain your employees and customers' loyalty., 19 May 2003
In their book "Blown to Bits" Philip Evans and Thomas S. Wurster were concluding that hierarchical leadership is becoming obsolete in an Internet driven world. They were pleading for new leaders able to create culture and strategy. For them only a rich culture joined with a shared strategy can resist deconstruction. The corporation has to become a purposeful community in a world where business boundaries and organizational structures are melting in transience.
"Clicks and Mortar" from David S. Pottruck and Terry Pearce is the book to illustrate these ideas. Mortar, there, does not mean the physical assets as in "bricks and mortar", but means a new mortar that holds an extended company together: passion. "Passion is built. . . by making good promises, making good on those promises, and by giving people a chance to collectively and individually respond to their impulse to serve, to make a difference for others". "People hate change, but they love progress. The difference between the two is a sense of purpose-a shared purpose-provided by a culture that is intentionally built. This idea, which was a good one before the Internet world is becoming an operational imperative in the Internet world."
In the new economy under continuous change, only passionate people committed to a compelling cause or purpose can produce necessary innovation. It is the leaders' responsibility to build commitment and loyalty around a strong corporate culture, which needs to be communicated explicitly. Such a culture has to be anchored with service and customer experience to succeed and not to be centered on the company itself.
"The driving force is the customer experience: our desire and ability to create it, and the customers' satisfaction with it. Serving, serving, serving. It is the heartbeat of a company that works." This message coming directly from Charles Schwab's experience of David S. Pottruck is clear: culture must be centered on customer experience to become the DNA of a company.
As Internet creates interdependence and asks for transparency, living the culture every day is the only way to reinforce commitment and mutual trust.
In the first part of the book we learn how to build such a culture, how to live it every day through stories, images and rituals, and how to cultivate people commitment. An interesting idea is that people serving in a company must be a mirror of the customers to serve. Diversity of employees with different points of view is becoming an important asset in the Internet world for final decision makers.
In the second part we learn how leaders have to communicate and manage others perceptions to create an atmosphere of encouragement rather than competition and to inspire people working with them. Their mission is to make information useful and meaningful to others, in a two-way communication with more responds to people than answers to questions. These conditions and acceptance of failures, as a learning process, must lead to innovation the only true measurement for knowledge workers.
In Internet environment, business heads must be entrepreneurial and team players and must demonstrate a good understanding of technology, which can be no more considered as a simple tool but as the lifeblood to compete.
Technology is used to serve customers who are driving innovation and new product development and gives opportunity to your employees to serve them with passion, the new mortar of a competitive Internet organization.

The 21st Century Business: Managing and Working in the New Digital Economy
The 21st Century Business: Managing and Working in the New Digital Economy
by James W. Cortada
Edition: Paperback
Price: £30.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A practical guide to 21st century, but not easy to read..., 5 Nov. 2002
It is the first time I'm reading a book from James W. Cortada and I can say that it was not an easy reading for me. The author is writing in the preface "The chapters help to catalog and rationalize the changes underway and how work must be done", but too much use of cataloguing and rationalizing is harmful for the reader who is losing his way in all the firsts, seconds, thirds, etc. at quite every page. It makes difficult to follow the thinking of the author.
Main idea developed in 21st century business is that change "is occurring more in an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary manner" and that "we must manage in an environment rooted in the past and yet stepping forward into a new future." This duality gives possibilities to build our future on past sound well chosen practices even if some "old knowledge and practices increasingly are competitive disadvantages as firms move from the Second Industrial Age into portions of the new Information Age."

James W. Cortada is showing us that the Information Age is more than technology and that managers need to understand that the sources of profit are changing. They need to understand how profits are made and to understand the effects of globalization and digitization within a context of emerging political realities. Information is becoming an important part of a new value proposition and must be leveraged by developing networks, learning organizations, and knowledge-workers.

Based on the evolution concept the author develops how to use best practices, benchmarking and process management approaches to give us the assets to understand how waves of change work and to create a virtuous circle for developing learning organizations.
But learning organizations are networks of knowledge workers, which are increasing in number with the emergence of information-based economy. That means that knowledge management is becoming an important part of a manager's job. To understand that knowledge management is operating within a business ecology, which can be described as an environment of enablers, inhibitors, and drivers is crucial to be able to leverage knowledge to generate profits in business or efficiencies and quality of performance in governments.
The use of Internet, which is a low-cost way of moving information around has a big impact on knowledge management, but also on work organization by enabling collaboration and alliances without constraints of space and time. This allows closer partnerships with suppliers, customers and even competitors, making organizations' traditional boundaries more flexible. But Internet is also an interactive tool with the impact on organizations moving from Second Industrial Age mass production to Information Age mass customization, when not made-to-order.
"The most important use of Internet today is in the fundamental redesign of supply chains", which "are making it possible to squeeze out inefficiencies, improving productivity while allowing firms to connect in new ways to suppliers and customers." The author is sharing with us IBM's interesting practical experience in this field.
The final chapter is showing us how we can manage the change to enter in the New Digital Economy, because "we have more control over the future of our enterprises than we realize."

This book is finally replacing the move to the "New Economy" in a context we are leaving in, and wants to convince us that we already have many tools in our hands to enter properly the Information Age. Some Great Reading at the end of the book consolidates the evolution approach demonstrated by giving us roots in the past literature.

Management Challenges in the 21st Century
Management Challenges in the 21st Century
by Peter Ferdinand Drucker
Edition: Hardcover

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Look ahead and act to transform challenges in opportunities, 25 Oct. 2002
This is the invitation made by Peter F. Drucker in his book: Management challenges for the 21st century. The author writes: "Reading this book will upset and disturb a good many people, as writing it disturbed me" and "It is a very different book from the one I originally envisaged". These two sentences explain that the pressure of the future is so already with us that ideas coming to the author had difficulties to organize on the paper. But this stressing environment gives one of the best book of Peter F. Drucker with issues not to be ignored by knowledge-workers and executives who will have to work on them to make sure to be among the leaders of tomorrow.
In the 2 first chapters, we are sharing ideas from the Management's assumptions, which are no more valid in the "New Economy" to The New Certainties on which very few organizations and very few executives are working on and are invited to a call for action in front of a period of a profound transition.
In Chapter 3, Peter F. Drucker is describing, the Change leader, which mission will not be to manage change, because it is not possible to manage change, but to be ahead of it. Different recommendations are given, but the more important one is piloting the change to permanently test reality. If making the future is highly risky, it is less risky than not trying to make it in a period of upheavals, such as the one we are living in.
In chapter 4, the author convinces us that IT Information Technology has to move from the T to the I. That means that Technology as such is not the concern of executives when Information is. It is true that executives did not get always, with the Information Technologies Revolution, the Information they need for acting. But Information requires also to move from internal information to external Information, because strategy is mainly based on the last one. Information being the key resource for knowledge workers asks to be organized at individual and group level to anticipate and avoid surprises in front of significant events and to prepare for action.
In chapter 5, after discovering that the main contribution of management in the 20th century was the fifty-fold increase of productivity of the manual-worker in manufacturing, we are presented the challenge for the 21st century as being the increase of knowledge-worker productivity. The move there is from quantity measurement to quality measurement of an agreed defined task of a knowledge-worker, which is part of a growing population in developed countries. Knowledge-workers, owning their means of production, the knowledge between their ears, are becoming assets instead of costs. And if costs need to be controlled and reduced, assets need to be made to grow. This means a change of attitude of management but also of corporation governance who have to find balance between the interests of shareholders and knowledge-workers contributing to the wealth of the organization.
In the final chapter, we are presented the impact of all previous evolutions on the individual knowledge-worker, who will have to manage himself in this new environment. This is a real revolution in mentalities due to two new realities: workers are likely to outlive organizations, and the knowledge worker has mobility the manual-worker did not have. Partnership is becoming an answer to these changes with all the consequences for the individual who has to ask himself: "what should be my contribution" and "where and how can I have results that make a difference", yes a real revolution already there.
Management Challenges for the 21st Century is giving the basics to enter the period of profound transition we know with the arrival of the "New Economy" and will make the difference for the people who read this book. We really have to thank Peter F. Drucker for this important contribution at the age of 90, a masterpiece after more than sixty years devoted to management development.

Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web
Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web
by Evan I. Schwartz
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brush up your Web strategy with the help of Webonomics, 18 Oct. 2002
In past years many companies created their own Web sites, but how many are taking this opportunity to improve their relationship with their customers? Not so many because they do not know or do not apply the nine essential principles presented by Evan I. Schwartz in his book: Webonomics. You will say this book is more than 5 years old, means around 35 years in Internet time, and may no more be useful for actual World Wide Web marketspace in 2002.
Basic principles stay still valid, that means that the Web remains the place for interactivity, customer positive experience, self-service, and personalization. So, why many Web sites are not giving the opportunity to interact? May be because their roots in the industrial age slow them to understand deeply the ninth principle exposed in this book: agility rules-Web sites must continually adapt to the market.
When technology is becoming the driving force to interact with your customers and no more a means to solve business problems, Web strategy is asking to be proactive, to be at the edge. Intrusive mass media with their continuously diminishing returns need to extend impact with the Web to link qualified and interested consumers and give them enough information and interactive tools to move them to think to become buyers.
Exposing your company on the Web is the low step when getting results must be the reason to move to the World Wide Web marketspace. Much richer interactive information than in a brochure is becoming the rule to make sure to gain interest from your customers The common number of pages seen is not an effective criteria compared to the frequency of coming-back to your Web site. Creating a relationship and better a community must be a real objective when setting up a Web site, even if it is not an easy task.
World Wide Web is a new economic environment and is asking new strategic approaches to consumer who is regaining control based on his own interactive experience.
If you think World Wide Web marketspace is not your concern, even if you discover everyday that your competitive advantages are shrinking, and that a new small aggressive company coming from nowhere starts to take some of your customers by adding information value to your offer, you had better to reconsider your position.
Competition is moving from marketplace to marketspace and you must be convinced that it will be preferable to understand the 9 principles presented by Evan I. Schwartz in Webonomics to make sure to survive in this new competitive environment.

Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy
by Carl Shapiro
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep this Network Economy strategic guide close to your hand, 23 July 2002
You will have to come back to it many times to improve continually your understanding and practices in the network economy... Invest money and time in "Information Economy, a Strategic guide to the Network Economy" is a real good investment as it gives you guide lines to understand deeply the emerging Network Economy but also how to deal strategically with the main encountered issues: pricing, versioning, rights management, lock-in approaches, and information policy.
Even if Carl Shapiro and Hal R Varian are saying that: "Technology changes, Economics laws do not" their careful analysis on networks and positive feedback is conducting them to write "Strategy in network markets is distinct from strategy in markets for information content, not to mention traditional industrial markets". In network markets positive feedback based on Metcalfe's Law - the value of a network goes up as the square of the number of users - makes the strong grow stronger ... and the weak grow weaker.
To maximize your return you need to find the balance between openness and control, compatibility and performance and to be ready to build alliances, to battle for standardization on your own or with partners... "It is not enough to have the best product, you have to convince customers that you will win" is a crucial idea to apply in the network economy to ignite a positive feedback and reach the critical mass necessary to fuel explosive growth.
The authors are presenting, through real-life examples including the Microsoft Netscape browser battle , a complete battlefield with maps of strategies and tactics to win and stay in the network economy. Keep this guide close to your hand, as it will become your better source of knowledge to be at the forefront of the New Economy. Personally I plan to re-read this book on regular basis to make sure to extract all the richness the authors have put in.

Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence
Digital Economy: Promise and Peril in the Age of Networked Intelligence
by Don Tapscott
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars To understand how Digital Economy is transforming businesses, 4 July 2002
Even if the book was written in the mid 90 it still gives the bases to understand how Digital Economy is transforming our businesses and lives. Don Tapscott is clearly explaining that after Total Quality Management TQM, Business Processes Reengineering BPR we enter a new era where we will be asked to literally transform our businesses and lives.
The convergence of computing, telecommunications and content is a real revolution, giving access to a networked economy working in real time and without knowing distances. This means that boundaries are exploding. Learning is becoming a continuous process and part of our day to day work it is why Digital Economy is often called Knowledge Economy. Customer is integrated in the production process and organizations are moving from a vertical integration to extended networks including customers, suppliers and more and more often competitors. We are far from the industrial hierarchical organizations where we are working now.
Don Tapscott is helping us to understand the New Economy 12 themes supported by the 10 technological shifts and the move from individual effectiveness to the internetworked businesses through high performance teams, integrated organizations and extended enterprises. But finally he is convincing us that as part of an internetworked leadership, we are collectively responsible to achieve the transformation of our businesses for a better life promised by the New interactive Economy.
Don Tapscott is also helping us to evaluate impact of the Digital Economy on our business work, on our education systems, and on our governments. The interactivity is transforming the media industry and asking a new leadership for our businesses.
Don Tapscott doesn't forget to discuss the peril of the Digital Economy from privacy protection to electronic democracy.
Digital Economy is a real knowledge spring where you come back regularly to improve your understanding of the surrounding growing New Economy.

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