Just Surfing: Interesting articles from Newspapers and Blogs

I have collected articles, which highlight social economic changes that currently take place as reaction to the financial crisis.

What happens with Public Debt

In the moment, economies are depressed, and we live in times of economic crisis. Just recently I read that the inflation rate in Germany came down to zero percent. However, our governments have spent tremendous amounts of money, just to fight the crisis, and to stabilize the banking system.

This public debt can be source of a future problem, if not managed properly:

  • The monetary supply defines the inflation rate. It is thus possible that we will see increased inflation, once the economy starts to grow again
  • The money spent is in fact public debt. All of us together will need to somehow pay back this debt, for instance by lowering consumption, and by increasing taxes

In the Economist, I found the article → The biggest bill in history, which summarizes different options. Following this article it is possible that governments will take this situation as the starting point to better address the topic of rising costs of our aging societies.

Possible results could be a growing retirement age, or cuts in the expensive social systems. In any case it is likely that we will see changes in the customer demografics.

Change of our Economic System

Without doubt, the turbo-capitalism is one of the reasons for the economic crisis. A different reason is the wrong performance management system in many companies, which paid high amounts of money to few risk-taking managers and top employees, and which neglected the normal employees.

At current, many people start to question several of those fundamentals, which nobody has doubted just few years ago. The article (German) → Amerika wird eher wie Europa describes the oppinion of the US economist Norman Freeman, who thinks that the US economic system will convert itself to a more European-style economic system, where social interests are in focus.

First of all, he thinks that the factor greed needs to be, and will be managed more carefully. This means that more but smaller banks will be needed, who compete in a more fragmented market, and that corporate pay schemes will be differently in future.

He particularly thinks that the hight salaries and boni for few managers will be a model of the past, as they set wrong signals. In future there are good possibilities that the role of the unions will change and the role of workers and employees will be stronger.

These and other groups will more closely observe the direction, in which the companies evolve, and will demand from them more social responsibility. In future it will thus be relevant to companies to deliver on other values, than just financial value and profits.

The Age of Less

The article (German) → Age of Less from the → Absatzwirtschaft highlights recent consumer trends, which will most likely continue to influence after-crisis buying patters. Following the most central ideas:

  • The current economic crisis is just one part of a larger paradigmn shift, which took place in western societies. Changes happen at an increased pace, and more and more disruptive innovation starts to put the business models of entire industries into danger. Uncertaincy and unsecurity grows, and it is becomming more and more difficult to foresee future developments. Donald Rumsfeld (US Minister of Defense) named this the growing share of → unknown unknowns.
  • We live in anage of less: less commodities, less money, less confidence. At the same time the world of interaction is starting to emerge, which builds on the principle participation is more important than ownership. For customers, the internet is increasingly important, also for their social needs, and these customers want to be partners who want to give feedback while consuming (Co-Creation).
  • In this increasingly complex world, individuals have less possibilities to react. This leads to a deficit in motivation. The resulting possibility for a motivation crisis is considered as one of the most threatening developments, as people who do not want to bring something forward, will not bring anything forward.
  • As it is increasingly difficult for foresee and forecast future developments, the intuition is the only thing, which helps us and companies to stay focussed. This – on the other hands – means, that female values are becomming more and more important, and that societies will change.

The future

I think – as I also said in my yesterday’s article (→ Nach der Finanzkrise: Nichts wird bleiben wie es ist) that the basis for future business is in change. As also reflected in above articles, we need to focus our product management activities on the following topcis:

  • Be able to handle permanent change, and currently question products and business-models
  • Deal with consumers and customers, which behave differerently than the actual consumer generations
  • Enable and improve innovation (products, processes and business models)
  • Open companies and processes, which support collaborative processes
  • Refocus on value, and put particular emphasis on sustainability.

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