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Advancing Insights - Keeping an Eye on Distant Events

In a new book,"Peripheral Vision: Detecting the Weak Signals That Will Make or Break Your Company ", author George Day and co-author Paul Schoemaker make the case for open minded management. Mr. Day sez most "...90% of CEO's act more like COO's" (more concerned with short term profits) than asking questions about the periphery or edge (read John Hagel - global process networks) of the business.

I find the idea compelling because it jibes with what we try to get across to managers with Ideascape (enterprise social networks). Businesses need a lightweight system to connect employees, partners, suppliers, and customers to ideas and information so that they can interact and make better decisions - faster.

If you're interested in this stuff, take a look at the cluetrain manifesto.

Anyway, Wharton has a podcast interview with Mr. Day. (reg req)

"In Wharton marketing professor George Day's world, the term "peripheral vision" means the ability of companies to detect, interpret and act on distant signals, whether a rumor heard about a new rival, a newspaper article about a new medical device, or the popularity of a blog started by a dissatisfied customer."

Funny thing about blogs. I read this morning, "The balance of power shifts from seller to buyer" by Stuart Lauchlan. Mr. Lauchlan, lmao, describes in detail his trouble trying to use his ATM card from Barclays Bank. He also has a link to a post about a new study on trends in the marketplace. Mr. Lauchlan, "...its basic premise that the balance of power has shifted from seller to buyer - but the sellers haven't woken up to this idea yet. As such a lot of companies are going to end up in a lot of trouble as buyers exert their new found power."

Interesting! Last year, Jeff Jarvis blogged about the problems he was having with Dell Computer's customer support. I wondered at the time (06-2006 - Dell trading at 41) what effect the Dell PR nightmare would have on stock price. Well, today the stock is trading at 24 (a 52 week low).

Update 5-13-06: From the The NY Times - "Dell's World Isn't What It Used to Be"

"Dell is indeed spending more on customer service, which is a reason earnings have been damped. It is hiring more people for call centers in the United States and Canada. "The time to answer the phone has been cut in half in the last month," said Joe Marengi, senior vice president for Dell's Americas business. Staff members are being trained to resolve complaints before they escalate. "The amount of escalations were going way too high. You can go out and see on the blogs what is happening."

The company, once known for great service, has faced a rash of mistreated customers to the point, analysts said, that the problem was becoming part of consumers' perception of Dell. The blogger Jeff Jarvis complained about his problems on his BuzzMachine site. In another case, Dell was said to have sold an expensive server to a woman who merely wanted a device to connect two PC's. Dell resolved Mr. Jarvis's complaint, but it was never clear that the woman with the server was ever given the right product, a router."