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Rita Clifton on the business challenges of technology

Updated Thursday, 17th February 2011

"Things can happen with such speed and on such scale, social networking has made a difference"

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Well, I think that in many ways what’s happened with changing technologies is that human beings are very much as they have always been with the same hopes and fears and needs and so on. But what has changed is their ability to express those and also to get information about them.

So for example if you want to meet a partner, you know, that’s a very normal human thing, and what you can do now of course is through internet dating you can find a partner very very quickly.

If you want to complain about a company or what’s going on, you can complain very quickly you can get a team of people, group of people on your social network that’s joining in the protest, you can organise a boycott.

Things can happen at such speed and at such scale now that it has made a real difference to the effectiveness and the efficiency of how business operates and also of course how people can affect those businesses. If you think about the disaster that befell BP for example, I mean what happened there was obviously a very terrible thing.

But what was extraordinary is the speed and the scale with which pictures of the leaking oil rig and the dying seabirds, it was a terrible tragedy, but the speed at which that got around the world, and what’s more the speed at which people were able to make protests about it and drum up support for those protests, indeed actually drum up boycotts and so on.

Also maybe the business in the Gulf area just how much they’re able to connect with each other and force some changes through.

So BP is a rather sad example. Equally with Toyota, I mean the Toyota disaster just how quickly that took off and the scale at which that took off. I think it’s fascinating, whereas maybe ten years ago that would have taken a like country by country it would have taken some time for some of these issues to burn through. On the positive side, if we were to take Ford, I mean Ford have managed to turn their business around by using social media, social networks in a really imaginative way. I mean they allowed a lot of bloggers to try a new model of their cars, they used the feedback, they publicised the feedback and, you know, they’re even launching some of their models on Facebook before they’re then going in to mainstream media. I mean it really is an interesting way of using this explosion of channels and the possibility and opportunities that they’re affording.

How is new technology changing business?

 

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