Is It The Zombie Economy?

by Jay Deragon on 06/12/2009

toon021709 The rippling effects of the failure of automobile manufactures, banks, insurance companies and wall street is indicative of a systemic failure in ideals, ideas and innovation.

The old economic models of business has not only shifted by done so at speeds that are disrupting everything at the click of a mouse.

When simultaneous disruption happens across multiple industries the fabric of past economic models collapse.  Old economic models have been based on beliefs formed by past market experiences and conditions that were predictable.  Today markets are changing rapidly and the emergence of mass communications is fueling new ideals, ideas and a new economy. The only thing that is predictable is that things will change faster than you’ve ever previously experienced.

Time to Shift Our Thinking?

Umair Haque writes in Harvard Business: Saul Hansell asks: are telcos next to go bankrupt?

They’re definitely on the list. As I’ve pointed out for some time, the problem isn’t within industries: it’s across them.

It’s time to connect the dots. It is no coincidence that so many industries are in trouble simultaneously and so fast. The growth of the Zombieconomy is a Jupiter-sized wake-up call to today’s leaders.

Here’s the real problem.

Capitalism 1.0 is built on an obsolete set of ideals. What the 21st century needs are better ideals, to build a better kind of business on. Fundamentally, we need organizations that can behave very differently.

That’s a tough set of lessons to internalize. Recently, I gave a talk on Constructive Capitalism to a bunch of senior guys at a major international organization. They debated with me for close to an hour whether a better kind of capitalism was really necessary.

Frankly, I thought it was a bit funny that the debate was necessary at all. Hey, look — it’s the simultaneous collapse of significant portions of the manufacturing and service sectors. Convinced yet?

Thinking Like a Zombie?

Sometimes discussing the emergence and value of all this “social stuff” with business leaders is like talking to Zombies. A zombie is a mythical creature that appears in folklore and popular culture typically as a reanimated corpse or a mindless human being. The word mindelss means  marked by a lack of mind or consciousnes (1): marked by or displaying no use of the powers of the intellect  (2): requiring little attention or thought.  Sound like a harsh assessment of business leaders? How long to the leaders of industries collapsing take to recognize the entire market has changed?  Lets see, the automobile industries has been losing billions for years thus “we the people” had to bail them out.

Don’t be a zombie. Wake up to the market changes and subsequent opportunities before you. However, in order to wake up you have to recognize that simply resting on your old ideals, old models and past success may mean that you’ll be dreaming about yesterday while today displaces you. Get it?

What say you?

{ 10 comments }

John T Curran September 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm

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Brian C. Citizen June 12, 2009 at 11:55 am

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