Do you remember the song, “Change the World”? It was recorded by Eric Clapton and won a Grammy Award for “Song of the Year”. There’s no doubt that we can change the world, but sometimes we just can’t accept the idea that world can change us as well. This is especially true in the business world; we trust the notion that change is needed in order to grow and progress, yet we aren’t usually very fond of it (some say this is a sort of unconscious, unresolved conflict between our intelligence and our emotions.)

In the last year, the concept of monitoring consumer opinions expressed online in forums, blogs, and social networks became a very popular topic, not only for management and industry press, but also for mainstream media. Several incidents have caused the reputations of companies and government organizations to take a beating. Some have even had their image completely destroyed by videos posted on YouTube (Domino’s Pizza), online rumors or email campaigns. On the positive side however, the companies which implemented focused and innovative viral marketing campaigns were able to profit considerably by using these same mechanisms proactively. What this tells us is that having access to online opinions about products, brands and people is more than just a passing phase. It is a strategic variable for all organizations (have you read this report about Toyota’s crisis?)

While executives seem to be increasingly aware of this aspect, the majority of them do not seem to place the same value on this issue as they would for other strategic business variables. Activities involving business intelligence are dealt with using a mix of technologies, databases and analysts (internal and external to the organization), yet this new variable of competitive intelligence is treated superficially, without engaging sufficient resources. It certainly can’t be easy to face these sorts of challenges, but I believe it all boils down to what I said in the beginning: it’s not easy to change the way you work. Furthermore, as intellectual and emotional factors continue to build up, the situation tends to become even more complicated then it actually is.

There is a bright side to all of this, however. First, we can allow the world change us and let things happen by themselves. Change doesn’t have to be “the thing to do” because it is driven by outside forces (because markets change or because consumers needs change, etc…); it can be something natural and simple. There are lots of people out there willing to change, sometimes with the help of other people. Thankfully, for a company like Expert System, there are a lot of people that embrace the idea of changing their lives – or maybe just their companies 😉 – by exploring new technology.

Here’s some food for thought: we start to change only when we start to think differently. (BTW, did you know “Change the World” was also chosen as one of the Songs of the Century? Ranked #270.)


Author: Luca Scagliarini

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