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As we look at the spectacular disruptive power of social movements these past few years, from Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring uprisings to citizen movements that blocked major resource projects, there is a temptation to write them off as novelties, edge cases or the beginner’s luck of techno savvy upstarts.

Defense analysts, however, have warned of the rising power of such forces for decades. Already back in ’93, Rand Corporation analysts released “Cyberwar is Coming” which essentially foretold how the networked world, with its growing store of information, links between interest groups and rapidly evolving technological platforms, would come to de-stabilize established power and politics. Continue Reading…

New year, new focus

Tom Liacas —  January 7, 2015 — Leave a comment

Those who have followed this blog for the past two and half years have witnessed me write on subjects as wide and varied as social media origins, online reputation issues and digital marketing. Well, enough of that! In 2015, I have decided to focus on the issue that is my main passion: The rising power of grassroots social network movements and what this new power implies for the future of business, politics and society. Continue Reading…

These past few years, I have done a fair amount of work with resource companies. This work mostly entailed setting up online dialogue projects to bring these companies into discussion with citizens and activists (in contexts where the latter were making life difficult for the former). While doing this work I had hoped that, through dialogue, mutual understanding and compromises could be arrived at. In the process, I was expecting forward movement on the social and environmental aspects of resource extraction.

But as time passes, I am coming to realize that resource companies may be simply unable to make the shifts required of them in a world rapidly approaching the hard walls of runaway climate change, resource scarcity and global inequalities. In fact, it seems likely that the vast majority of players in this sector will confront new realities the hard way, when citizens and governments storm their gates in the near future. Continue Reading…

As global climate, resource and economic issues continue to grow in complexity, I see a source of hope in what is otherwise viewed as a nuisance by many of my clients. The empowerment of networked individuals using social media has created unprecedented movements, like the 300 000+ person strong People’s Climate March in NYC this past September. Continue Reading…

For those who read business literature, you will have noticed that the term ‘disruptive’ has recently attained the same heights as ‘synergy’ and other great buzzwords of yore. There is a reason for this, of course. In business to consumer markets (B2C), rapid adoption of new technologies has revolutionized the brand-customer relationship and wiped out entire industries in a matter of years. Brian Solis, prophet and leading light of digital business theory, has written a lot about this new constantly disruptive marketplace. To clearly outline the price of not adapting, he coined the term ‘Digital Darwinism’. In his own words, it implies: “…a kind of natural market selection that favors innovative companies at a time when technology and society are evolving faster than the ability of many organizations to adapt. It is this dynamic (along with a myriad of other problems of course) that in fact killed Borders, Blockbuster, Polaroid, Kodak, and the like.

Continue Reading…