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Strategy and Transformation

Consumer Corner with Jim & Michael

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Jim: I’m connected, you’re connected…my car, my house, where I go, what I eat, what I spend, what I think. But is this really making a difference in how we live and work or are we all caught up in some big high-tech hype cycle?Caricature
Michael: Oh my, that’s a lot of questions rolled into two and a bit existential for a late afternoon! But I’ll take a crack at it by saying, you are on to something when you ask because the notion of “connection” certainly is evolving. Some of this is great, like when I need a cab in Manhattan, at 5:15 on a rainy Friday night and can’t find a yellow, but can get a Lyft. Some of this is scary, like what I heard today on the BBC about Swedish employees in a new hi-tech office center. These folks are actually choosing to have chips placed under the skin of their hands so they can enter their offices, operate a copier, or grab (no pun intended) a bite on the run without paying with cash or card.
Jim: Orwell?
Michael: Eh, I wouldn’t go that far, but we should –all of us– start really thinking about how we gauge value, utility, and what serves us vs, commerce for its own sake. I like, for example, that I can pay all my bills on cycle with just a few clicks. I like that I can upgrade my coach class ticket on Delta for “economy comfort” or business class from the rental car bus, instead of sweating it at the gate. Pull out of my driveway, house secured from my iPhone. Realize I’m short on food as I’m heading home from a long trip, no problemo, a few clicks and groceries are waiting by my door on arrival.
Jim: We just got back from NRF where we listened to, talked with and had demonstrations of all the latest thinking and technology that could literally change how we conduct commerce, how we communicate our needs and get what we want, when we want it. But I noticed, among all the “big ideas” something missing.
Michael: Eyes wide open, Jim? Do share.
Jim: I think it’s going to take more. Not just technology but organization and culture, where we can break free of our conventions to get beyond the hype and focus on what is the purpose…and the rationale for our companies wanting to connect with consumers.
Michael: Sounds deep. What you’re suggesting, Jim, is that we need to ask the question that goes beyond the question. Not what I can make with technology that connects us, but what this technology will do for us.   It’s at the root of the questions you posed at the start.
Jim: It is deep, by the way. And?
Michael: How about we cover this on our webinar Tuesday?
Jim: Let me check the electronic calendar on my connected phone. Yes, Tuesday. Onward!

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Heather Bowman

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