As many of the early internet related predictions have now come to pass, I stand by this statement while admitting the pace of change has been slower than expected and that some of the most radical activity is still happening on the fringes. Watch Joanne Jacob's guide to microblogging/lifecasting on 2gether08 to see what I mean - she speaks convincingly about the importance of Twitter - esp. hashtags - as a means of tracking and accessing information of relevance/interest - yet only 1% of the internet users are currently using Twitter. While I acknowledge that the drivers for change are different for each sector, I don't believe many market sectors are immune and here is why.
With internet enabled media fragmentation and the parallel rise of social networks/media, the way people get news/info and increasingly entertainment is changing. This means social change on many different levels - new business models, industry (re)structures as well as career trajectories and consequently skillsets and educational requirements.
Let's look at journalism, for example. As Paul Bradshaw at Birmingham City University points out in an excellent recent blog entry, the traditional print media industry is downsizing with the rise of internet self-publishing. The article talks about how journalistic skill sets are evolving so fast that many journalism schools can't keep up - the capacity to curate and work across a wide range of media platforms will become as, if not more, important than the craft of writing. This analysis applies to many fields. The related world of advertising is another one but there are many more.
The need to change has a different effect on everyone and so the pace of change is as much about people as it is about technology. I am fortunate to meet many fascinating people through my work but the ones I admire the most are the entrepreneurs who are leading the charge.
Here are a few of my favourite new business models - I'm always looking for more examples, so please share them with me. A good source is Start Up Squad.
- Unchained Guide, a network of independent retailers proposed as an alternative to the oligopolies
- ASwarmofAngels, a revolutionary approach to film making using an open source model
- Unlimited World, a new social network for social entreprenneurs - imagine the power such a network could eventually harness.