Designing The 21st Century Enterprise


Science & Technology: Tactics

"On January 5, 1995, the Third Wave came to American democracy in the form of 'Thomas,' the Library of Congress' on-line system that allows every citizen to access copies of legislation, committee reports and other congressional documents. During the first four days of operation, 28,000 individuals and 2,500 institutions used Thomas to download 175,132 documents. In fact, more citizens accessed Thomas over a twenty-four hour period than normally use the Library of Congress in a week."
Newt Gingrich, from the forward of CREATING A NEW CIVILIZATION; Alvin and Heidi Toffler, 1995

In what ways can the 21st century enterprise encourage the kind of entrepreneurial use of technology that allows transformation to happen on a daily basis?

"There were some problems, of course, when it came to publishing what amounted to a brief for a whole new technology, especially one that started at the molecular level and built up, creating molecular computers, cell-repair machines, and all the other miracle devices. The main problem was, how did you make such technology believable? . . . the various technical hurdles involved, which, to the chorus of cynics that was undoubtedly out there, would be daunting enough all by themselves. Every scientific and technical advance was at first greeted by a vast battalion of naysayers, pessimists, and professional doubters."
NANO; Ed Regis, 1995

Your response

When is it important for the public to influence designs in technology such as this?

"In Tim May's eyes a digital tape is a weapon as potent and subversive as a shoulder-mounted Stinger missile. . . a $9.95 digital audio tape, or DAT . . . just slightly fatter than an ordinary cassette - contains a copy of Mozart equivalent in fidelity to a conventional digital compact disc. DAT can hold text as easily as music. If the data is smartly compressed, one DAT purchased at K-Mart can hold about 10,000 books in digital form. One DAT can also completely cloak a smaller library of information interleaved within the music. Not only can the data be securely encrypted within a digital tape, but . . . a computer hard disk's-worth of coded information could be made to disappear inside an ordinary digital tape of Michael Jackson's Thriller."
OUT OF CONTROL; Kevin Kelly, 1994

Your response

Could scenarios such as this significantly change the nature of power and control of big governments and corporations within the next 20 years?

"The new information and communication technologies have both increased the volume and accelerated the flow of activity at every level of society. The compression of time requires quicker responses and faster decision making to remain competitive. In the emerging nanosecond culture, the traditional control and coordination functions of management are woefully slow and utterly incapable of responding, in real time, to the speed and volume of information coming into the organization."
THE END OF WORK; Jeremy Rifkin, 19954

Your response

Performing at optimal levels, how much longer will an industrial based, top down command and control organization be able to operate as a profitable enterprise?

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