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Thursday

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Everything Old Is New Again: Lifecycle

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by Brian Haven
@ 11:43 PM

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In my last post I talked about how all media is social. Before I get to my examples in the next few days, I want to talk about the implications of these changes on institutions. Essentially, the process goes like this:

  1. Institutions emerge, develop, become successful (or at least sustainable), and eventually become complacent.

     

  2. Progressive and resourceful people develop new tools and methods to fulfill needs in an innovative way and do so outside the mainstream institutions and bureaucracy.

     

  3. Constituent needs evolve and, eventually, institutions increasingly fail to fulfill those needs.

     

  4. Some of those tools and methods evolve and are built upon until sophisticated constituents adopt them.

     

  5. Popularity of these new constituent actions reaches a mass audience and institutions recoil in fear because their way of doing things is threatened by the new actions.

     

  6. Constituents don't wait for institutions to catch up and continue to push forward.

     

  7. Institutions make several failed attempts to change.

     

  8. Eventually the change happens, albeit in a slow and painful way.

     

  9. Constituents eventually adopt the institutions' solution, possibly with an unexpected player.

     

  10. The process starts over again (see step 1).

     

When institutions try and fail to meet the new constituent needs, we witness a deceptive width of the chasm between the current state and the emerging state. In reality, the chasm isn't that wide. The real obstacle is the process and philosophical shift required to operate in an entirely new way.


As my colleague, Pete Kim, so eloquently said it, "many brands secretly fear that connecting with the community will lead to dilution and destruction."


So the real challenge is changing the organization, not meeting the new needs. We see the distance between these types of events get shorter every year, especially in recent years. The 'new organization' must embrace change as part of it's DNA — it's underlying structure must embrace an operating paradigm that enables ease of adaptation.

 

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01 Oct 2008
We've spent a good 6+ years talking about "social media"...
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This work on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


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06 Oct 2008
Today's instances of sharing with social media have a long...
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Saturday

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Larry Irons said:
@ 11:21 AM

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Haven,

Everyone in the social media space ought to go back and read Cluetrain Manifesto again. I know it is a classic, but its claim that Markets are Conversations remains as clear a statement of the issues involved in your point about institutional change as any I've seen.


Your analysis of the interplay between emerging needs and institutional adaptation nicely works through the dynamics of how it works. I look forward to reading your thinking on this topic as you work it out.


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Ethan Bauley said:
@ 1:56 AM

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Have you seen anyone besides Umair Haque use the "DNA" construct?


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Haven said:
@ 10:39 AM

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Larry, funny you should mention Cluetrain — I'm actually reading it right now. I agree that everyone should reread it. It's very impressive how right the authors got it as far back as they did. Thanks for the kind words, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue.


Ethan, I haven seen anyone else use the DNA construct formally (although Kevin Kelly may have use it briefly in Out Of Control, but I can't remember for sure. I find it so useful because we really have entered an era that requires a fundamental shift in how things are done. I also see some companies that "get it" and too many that don't — It's just in some people's DNA. Do you think it's an appropriate construct?


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