The advancement and even the direction of collaboration is beginning to be driven now by consumer adoption and more importantly, consumers mashing up the technology in new ways to build virtual communities.  These new capabilities are being driven by the curiosity of the young who have grown up immersed in the technology.  I have said before that business, and especially retailers, should incorporate methods to obtain input from the young and especially teens regarding technology utilization.  The rate of adoption and then dropping technologies and tools is amazing and rather than ignoring this as an example of short attention spans business should recognize it for what it truly is, a trend for the future.

I have discussed many times the importance of a continuous improvement program in supporting business and technology improvements in a manner that allows for consumable change.  When you bring these points together you come to the realization that a continuous improvement strategy must be developed to take into account all aspects of your business.  This should be viewed as a key business survival strategy.  Consumers are being driven into an ever quickening cycle of change by mobile and computer technology by the electronics industry so that industry can maintain sales and grow income.  This has been embraced by the consumer and especially the young consumer and turned into accepted practice.  Add to this the increasing use of cloud technology to support anywhere, anytime, access and the result is a quickening change cycle for business and especially retailers.

It will be necessary for retailers to chase these changes in capabilities, technologies and practices in order to succeed in the future.  The only way to maintain this necessary rate of change is to implement a continuous improvement strategy.  This incorporates the listen, do,evaluate practice that will support a thoughtful change of process and technology in a manner that allows the retailer to maintain currency with consumer practices and capabilities.  Business will no longer be able to engage in a multi-year implementation program, instead they must embrace and implement a multi-year improvement strategy. 

This continuous improvement strategy requires a flexible, component based, framework that supports exchanging and replacement of components to support the discontinuous rate of change driven by the market.  You eat an elephant one bite at a time and you can engage and react to changes in technology and practices one bite at a time.  The continuous improvement strategy embraces and supports these requirements that are sustainable by the business. Because of the rate of change in adopting and then dropping practices retailers can only succeed by incorporating this continuous improvement strategy.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumers’ experience?  Improving the consumers experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?