I am just about to leave for holydays, and was thinking about how 2008 is finishing. It actually started out pretty well for all of us engaged in « collaboration based change management » or « enterprise 2.0 » development. But then, there was the credit crunch.
Simply put, somehow along the way trust disappeared, and the whole system started contracting. It is still contracting.
The question is, why did trust disappear ? Too complex a question to adress in a post. In here, I would only say that we do not believe the economy can go on growing at what was its pace in the past few years. Or, more precisely, that it cannot continue growing if it keeps the same structure and governing principles.
Isn’t then this crisis a good moment to step back and act (not think) on those governing principles ? Based on the most visible reactions (governments and big business), it certainly does not seem so.
On the government front, billions have been poured into incumbant banks, financial institutions and industrial groups. Nothing has really been done to ensure that they will learn from past mistakes.
On the business front, we are getting ready to cope with the huge layoff frenzy that goes with this type of crisis (200 000 jobs to be lost in France according to Les Echos, even the tech layoffs are happening).
At the same time, there has been a lot of buzz arond how Enterprise 2.0 (to be overly simplistic) could have a positive impact in these times. For instance, putting down IT costs (as argued by Ross Dawson here) or even reinventing our business models (as argued in this interesting conversation led by Paula Thornton here)
And yes, I have to agree that all this « collaboration-based change » will have increased productivity of work (individual and collective) as its main impact for incumbent corporations. At the same time, and as argued in the post of Paula Thornton, business based on different business model and even different founding principles will emerge.
It’s time that leaders started thinking big and forgetting about old recipes. I do not think they will work. In fact, I think we have just started a period that will end with bringing down two of the idols on which we have built our economy: growth for growth and financial value.