Tag Archive for 'paradigms'

Your future and customer paradigms

In his book, Paradigms: The Business of Discovering the Future, futurist Joel Barker explains that paradigms are filters through which humans view the world and around which we pursue our lives.

Things that align with our paradigms sail right through; otherwise they meet resistance. A favorite color, for example, is a paradigm.

We also establish marketplace paradigms. Perhaps the most interesting paradigm dynamic is between a customer and a business, because a customer’s product paradigm logically becomes a business’s production paradigm.

Product paradigms always work for customers because they can pick and choose at will. But for a business, a production paradigm comes with significant risks, because they can be left with an investment – physically, financially and emotionally – in a newly unviable production paradigm.

When there is a paradigm disruption – like customers changing preferences – that’s called a shift. Barker says when a paradigm shifts, everything goes back to zero; what once worked so well becomes unavailable or obsolete.

When a shift occurs – the ability to buy stocks online, for example – customers easily transition to the new thing that likely caused the shift. But for a business with multi-faceted investments in the old paradigm – only stockbrokers can place stock orders – such a shift can be expensive and dangerously disruptive.

In the past I’ve introduced you to several examples of how the marketplace is transitioning from The Age of the Seller to The Age of the Customer™. This transformation is creating a number of shifts which are at once exciting for some and disruptive for others.

In the new Age, there are three primary shifts a business must now monitor constantly; each associated with a key element of customer relationships.

The Buying Decision
Customers have always controlled the buying decision element, but they now need less decision-making help from a business. The paradigm shift question: “How do we prevent our marketing and sales strategy from becoming obsolete?”

The Information
Previously controlled by businesses, access to information is now almost completely controlled by the customer. The paradigm shift question: “How do we maintain a relevant value proposition?”

The Product
Once controlled by the business, customers increasingly influence product development. The paradigm shift question: “How do we love what we do without loving how we do it?”

Discover the future by monitoring customer paradigms.


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The “Age of the Customer™” goes interactive

One of the major topics I’m devoting a lot of my time and resources to these days is talking and writing about what I call the “Age of the Customer.”  In this new Age, the Customer is in control and the Seller is subordinate for one primary reason: access to information.  Today, Customers have almost all the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision.

In the new Age, connecting with Customers is more important than marketing to them.  And what better way to connect with Customers than to provide an interactive element to the relationship?

Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked about interacting with Customers with Joseph Jaffe.  Joe is an outstanding member of my Brain Trust, and we talked about the shift toward interacting with Customers, plus other paradigms that are shifting away from 20th century marketing toward 21st century connection and communication with prospects and customers. In his day-job, Joe is the President and Chief Interruptor of crayon and author of Life After the 30-Second Spot and Flip the Funnel.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to listen to what Joe and I have to say and, as always, be sure to leave your comments. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Would new battery innovations change your small business?

Look around you at how many things you use that are electronic. Then make that scan again, but this time, only look at the things that run on batteries. Now look one more time and think about how much of the form and weight of those battery-operated devices is determined by the battery.  In the next 10 years, not only will fewer devices be burdened by an electrical cord, but fewer will be restricted by the battery. Emerging battery innovations will dramatically change the way we use things and live your lives.

For example, what if you could push a button and literally print out a battery - on a sheet of paper? What if the battery itself, so to speak, was actually part of the paint on a device?  Go ahead - let your mind wander.  I’ll wait … Hmm-Hmm-Hmm.

As our friend, Brain Trust member and world-class futurist, Joel Barker, has taught us, the byproducts of exciting innovations are often paradigm shifts. As you stand in your business, imagine if battery technology innovations became the next killer app, what shifts would result for the goods and service you use and sell?  The next question is, would these shifts harm or benefit your business?  Contemplating these kinds of questions are why business owners need to connect with the thinking and projecting of futurists.

Recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, Joel reported on exciting battery innovations, including batteries that can be printed on paper.  By the way, you can find Joel’s books and other works at Joel Barker.com.  Take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and let us know what you think the world would look like if you could buy a ream of batteries. Listen Live! Download, Too!

How long does an ice age take to develop?

Could global warming actually cause an ice age? If so, how long could one take to develop? That’s what many in the climate change camp are proposing.  But as you may know, I don’t drink that Kool-Aid.  In fact, my concern for what humans may be doing to the planet is only exceeded by my skepticism of the global warming doctrine.  Even if Al Gore is right, what would cause me to think that he and his ilk have THE answer to solve the problem?  How do they know how far to go?  What if they go too far and tip us into a “global cooling” scenario.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather be warm.

Nevertheless, I always enjoy talking with smart people about this topic, and I did enjoy such a conversation recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, with my friend and Brain Trust member, futurist, Joel Barker. Joel was the first person to popularize the concept of what happens when a paradigm shift causes something you’ve come to know and love to go back to zero. His book on paradigms, Future Edge, published in 1992, was listed as one of the most influential business books of that year by the prestigious Library Journal, and it has been used for more than a decade. Reading this book changed the way I look at the world, so when Joel speaks, I always listen, even if I have a different point of view.  By the way, Joel is also an outstanding film-maker, and his latest is called “Innovation at the Verge.”

Take a few minutes to listen to my conversation with Joel and, as always, let us know what flavor Kool-Aid you like. Listen Live! Download, Too!

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