Strategic Networking: Internet as Innovation – The Second Wave

Strategic Networking (e-book cover)

Although it’s still early in its revision, the Strategic Networking book is being collaboratively written with my co-author Gene De Libero. After some juggling with procedures for formatting and versioning, we are achieving this in a highly interactive manner online using Google Docs.

This work is both a look back at the first wave of the Internet as an adoption of innovation and a look forward at the swell that we are riding now as its second wave – its implementation in all aspects of our lives.

Technological innovations surface at the crest of this second wave, offering greater connectivity and reach. And social and organizational innovations rise with it to make conducting business and forming social communities a reality for all. If we follow this technological and social change as one that shares a common path with all successful innovations, we can expect further embedding of this technology into every aspect of our lives.

We can plan strategically for our use of these ever-expanding networks of change. If we understand and embrace this change, we can harness it in ways we need and hope for everyone tethered to this global internetwork in an ever-shrinking world.

As we continue our work (initially targeted for e-book publication), in the spirit of crowd-sourcing on the Net, we welcome your ideas for its content and its delivery with your comments in reply.

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10 Responses to Strategic Networking: Internet as Innovation – The Second Wave

  1. TLBush says:

    I hope the second wave of innovation will include more local connectivity. For me, local is a rural community and I see minimal internet connectivity. I think this is causing people to shop less locally. That is my excuse for shopping online and the secret to Craigslist.coms success. I dont want to drive to ten stores to figure out who carries my printer ink or my son’s soccer gloves. Sure I order my pizza from dominos online or even check the hours of my local stores, but when will we be able to access storefronts and merchandise from your local stores online before traveling there to purchase? The day we see this transition may be the day we see a new trend in shopping locally. I would much rather have my item now, instead of having it shipped, if I only knew that my local stores carried it at a comparable price. It may seem outlandish that I think a local store could manage inventory online, but actually it is simplier than you might imagine and from my experience in a rural community, many local stores have more than enough time on thier hands. Plus how hard would it be for my local gardening co-op to link the tag scanning system to a database online? It is getting simplier and simplier everyday….

  2. Jarrett says:

    I admire the way you put it in terms of a wave; it really does make a lot of sense and is a great approach to the topic. All of these new innovations hit us like a wave, and we find our culture adopting to them over a longer period. This is really amazing stuff! I know this book will do well!

  3. Doc says:

    Thanks Jarrett, for your confirmation of this approach to describing the Internet as Innovation – something that is always changing, so it is always novel (in some way) and is always complex, yet occurs over a relatively long time so you can discern its character and observe and anticipate its change.

  4. Doc says:

    Thanks for sharing the case of Internet as Innovation and the extent of its reach into rural areas. That was a concern in the first edition of the book in terms of strategies for underdeveloped countries. In terms of connectivity and extent of implementation of this innovation (and its second wave of e-business), rural areas in developed countries share similar problems. On your suggestion, we will re-examine and speak to this issue in an e-business chapter. It’s a reminder that the spread of an innovation is not the same for everyone at the same time. Thanks for your crowdsourcing!

  5. Charles Lafferty says:

    The wave theory had me wondering if future waves or critical leverage points (internet 2, Next Generation Internet (NGI), or web2.0) in which technology defines or changes our way of life have been projected (outside science fiction channel). Since fixed and mobile access to the WWW/internet has evolved into a form of “public utility” (infrastructure for a public service) such as city sewers, highways, and education systems once served, at what point to we consider the penetration of a wave as part of the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing? Are we closer than we think? A proposed 2010 bill would give the federal government absolute power to shut down the Internet. Remember in roman times to concur an enemy castle you would shut off the source of food and water and starve them out. Due to our ever increasing dependency, is the www/internet that new weapon of choice?

  6. John says:

    I think that with this second wave of innovation we will also see a resurgence of various .com businesses that foundered a few years back. It seems that the savvy shopper goes first to the internet before making a purchase from a store so that they can do research and price comparisons. If anything, the brick and mortar stores are only convenient if you want to try something on or want to purchase it more quickly (assuming they have what you’re looking for).

    While I am fairly certain that this will happen I’m just not sure when it will happen. Even so, I’m holding a few investment dollars back in anticipation.

  7. Villa says:

    When I see that wave, I view it as crashing down all around us. I’m an Internet “old timer,” and I have a lot of trouble accepting the tremendous amount of change surrounding the use of “social networking.” These “ever-expanding networks of change” seem to be to be volatile; the same forces that created them can easily tear them down and move on to something else that catches their fancy. I can easily see how people are attracted to networks like this in a social sense, but businesses would need something…different. Because there is so little in the way of security in social networking (which is largely the point), I think adoption by businesses for business use is still a ways off (notwithstanding businesses that make their living by offering social networking options to consumers). That’s not to say that businesses can’t currently exploit social networks for profit, but I’m not sure how they could use existing ones to conduct business.

  8. Doc says:

    Thanks Villa, for your cogent assessment of social networking as the principal swell hitting the beach in this second wave of Internet innovation. You raise two points that need to be considered separately and in conjunction in our book revision. One is the benefits and risks posed to individuals, whether for personal or professional use. The other is the case for businesses who choose to ride the crest of this change.

    As I penned this phrase as part of a metaphor on change, I can apply it here. You are right in saying that businesses need to carefully consider how much they will risk early and substantive engagement in the social space, but as in my metaphor (expressed in the first version of Strategic Networking), waiting to get involved in business (especially marketing using social networking and social media) out of inertia or indifference also courts great potential risk. “…Moving ahead too far incurs risks inherent with unproven technology. Yet remaining behind courts obsolescence and the related loss of competitiveness.”

    Even balancing yourself at the crest of change requires a strategic assessment and management. “…Riding the crest is also not without cost. It requires a constant commitment of resources for strategic planning and management.”

  9. Doc says:

    You raise an interesting issue Charles! Your concern of government interference in the flow of data (information) over the Internet is a very real threat as we have seen with countries that impose filtering at the national level. However, we have also seen that these interventions have their costs (and limitations) as well, not only to individuals and groups, but also to countries who attempt to stop (filter) this flow. We can thank the open systems architecture of the original Internet in great part (designed to minimize such interruptions) and the innovations that arise out of this, creating a surge of demand met by entrepreneurial response. Perhaps the last phase of this innovation (institutionalization) will not make it susceptible to increasing governmental control, but rather morph into a larger, more diverse internetworked communication system of increasing individual and social control?

  10. Doc says:

    Thanks John, for addressing e-business, which is an integral part of this second wave of innovation – and one that we will address in the new version. The boom and bust of e-business reflects a natural tendency for innovations to flounder between the adoption and implementation stages, but this swell is still building and will become more immersed into every aspect of our commercial interactions. Those businesses that seize upon supporting this growth through mobile and ambient computing technology (and its associated business activities) will be among those who will both help usher in this next wave and benefit from it (if they can ride the crest).

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