Magazine article European Business Forum

After the Internet, What Will Be the Next Big Thing?

Magazine article European Business Forum

After the Internet, What Will Be the Next Big Thing?

Article excerpt

Every so often a technological innovation, social revolution or geo-political shift fundamentally changes the business landscape, providing the nimble with new opportunities for profit and the complacent or foolhardy with threats to their survival. But how can CEOs and other members of the top team distinguish a mirage from the real thing? Where should we be looking? Is technology the only source--or at least the main one?

What does history teach us about those who succeed in spotting the right trends and those who fail?

These are some of the questions addressed by EBF's distinguished panel of contributors--a mix of academics, business advisors and business executives. Their rich variety of perspectives can be found on the next few pages, broadly grouped into three main themes:

* Dangers of Next Big Thing thinking

Babson Professor Tom Davenport opens the debate by examining the ever fertile field of business and management ideas--those techniques for improving business performance often dismissed as fads. Companies, he concludes, should always embrace new thinking; the problem usually arises in the way they are adapted by particular organisations. Instituto de Empresa's Enrique Dans then homes in on the highly topical--and in his view misguided--idea that Information and Communications Technology doesn't matter. Dans' article both underlines the risks of following popular gurus and underlines the strategic significance of ICT.

* The Next Big Thing and Technology

The debate then moves firmly into the realm of technology, a consensus emerging that the future may lie less in the discovery of something radically new than in the better application of what we already have. …

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