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New rules may offer master key to success

A great read I enjoyed over the summer break was Gerry McGovern’s new book The Caring Economy...Business Principles for the New Digital Age.

McGovern wrote the now famous report for the Irish Government in 1994 entitled Ireland: The Digital Age and the Internet, which became the basis of the Irish Government’s online strategy and the vehicle by which Ireland has stolen a march on many other countries in adapting to the online economy.

His current book is not about computers or bandwidth or faster processors. It is about how we react with each other in life and on the Net.

The primary thrust of the book is the argument that we need new attitudes, new rules and new business principles to succeed in the information age economy.

In McGovern’s own words, this worthy tome is based upon fundamental beliefs that the digital age:

• Demands new thinking and new philosophy

• Requires a new set of business principles, governing everything from research and development to customer interaction

• Is about technology finally becoming transparent and people becoming paramount

• Is an age in which people have never been more educated, self-confident and empowered

• Is an environment in which people care, about themselves, their families, friends, community, their country and environment.

He is also firmly of the view that business needs to care about people if it wants long-term success and that the Internet is a revolution primarily about communication between people and not simply about technology.

In the last chapter of his book McGovern does something many authors sidestep in order to avoid being accused of over-simplifying.

He offers a constructive summary of Internet business principles which provide food for thought.

According to McGovern, it pays to care. Put people first because people are where you will find your unique competitive advantage.

Think digital and study the lessons being learnt in software development. Imitate the way in which the Internet itself became successful – think network.

Keep it simple. Cut the hype and don’t fall into the trap of being complicated in a complex age.

Learn to play. Challenge the unchallengeable, think the unthinkable and encourage the heretic.

Inform. Use information quickly and gain value from the momentum it creates.

Have a long-term vision of where you want to go and in the process don’t forget the information poor consumer.

The vast majority of people seek stability and order. While the Internet was born in chaos, those succeeding in the online world are busy establishing structure.

Empower those connected to you and create communities which allow you to organise around the consumer rather than the product or service.

Take advantage of the growth in niche marketing..

Evangelise. No individual or organisation will change their business or personal philosophy as a result of some weekend seminar. It’s a slow process and constant evangelism is required to raise awareness and enthusiasm.

l Mal Bryce is a consultant to Dow Digital and a former WA Deputy Premier.

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