Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Be Adept And Adapt

It used to be the case that Wales was economically dragging behind most of the UK but the latest figures available from GEM show some of those green shoots. GEM is the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor and is a not-for-profit academic research consortium that looks at a variety of information to measure the level of innovative new business activity by regions across the World.

The latest figures are due to be made public shortly and show for the first time that Wales is doing better than the UK average in the younger sectors. The measures are split in age ranges from 18-24, and then decades 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-64. In the first two age ranges the figures sway very much in Wales’ favour.
It seems to me that IT is the clue. Anyone under the age of,say,35 has not grown up with IT technology around them. Those of us over that age tend to need to be shown the finer points of our mobile phones, laptops, I-pods, digital cameras and any other gizmo with buttons. It just is not intuitive.

Conversely, those under the age of 35 seem have that intuitive grasp of the possibilities and likely result when they press those buttons. ‘How do you know that?’ I have asked some young family member in exasperated frustration when I have been floundering pointlessly round in a loop with some piece of pocket electronic wizardry. ‘I don’t know – it’s obvious‘, comes the reply, guaranteed to improve my mood.

So it may be the March of the IT generation. I realise I have just assumed you know what ‘IT’ is. If you do not then there is no hope for you. Those abbreviations and acronyms that become part of the everyday vernacular now include IT – Information Technology. As much part of the modern day thinking as ‘TV’ was for those witnessing the late fifties and sixties. In black and white we had one then two channels. The screen resolution was improved when we switched from 405 lines to 625 lines and BBC2 took on the mantle of serious and minority programming, leaving BBC1 for the light entertainment, though still very well made of course. ITV had its followers. The audiences for the best programmes reached unbelievable heights. Half the country watched the 1966 World Cup final.

Bit by bit the technology improves, or develops at least, and we move slowly into a fresh era. If you live long enough you end up with a multitude of gadgets from each era of technology, for example, 78s, singles and LPs, tapes and cartridges, compact disks, and now the computerised downloading instruments.  You also have all the machines to play them on. (Then retro thinking moves in and you buy a new one to play all the old things on).

You can’t stop it. All you can expect to do is to realise what is available and chose to be selective as appropriate. Any business probably needs a web site now. Not any old web site, but a properly built one integrated with the rest of your marketing presence in the outside world and built to compete and be noticed.  There is money to be made on the Internet. Ignore it at risk of being sidelined. Not only will you be left behind and have to wait for the retro market to come round, but you will probably go out of business while doing so.
The new technology both destroys and creates. The world of journalism is seeing it. The traditional News industry is crumbling before our eyes. Those businesses that are slow in embracing not only IT but its possibilities, will become niche specialists, then quaint and old fashioned, then struggling remainders, then ignored and then loss making anachronisms.

Those that are adept are those that adapt.

For Flexible and Practical assistance with the engine room of your business talk to Bob Shepherd Associates.

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