From Publishers Weekly
The hackneyed trope of businesses as organisms in an economic ecosystem is updated in this informative but puffed-up volume of management theory. According to Meyer and Davis, authors of the New Economy manifesto Blur: The Speed of Change in the Connected Economy, the next big thing will be a "molecular economy"-biotechnology, nanotechnology and materials science-based on biological processes or things that mimic them. They spend several chapters on a tour of up-and-coming technologies, but their interest in them is mainly as avatars of a new managerial zeitgeist. In a coming age of unprecedented "volatility," businesses must abandon efforts to craft the perfect plan for the future and engineer the environment, and should instead embrace an evolutionary paradigm of "adaptive management" based on biological principles. Successful organizations must "self-organize" instead of relying on command-and-control, "recombine" best practices from diverse sources, "sense and respond" to changing conditions, "seed, select and amplify" a multitude of innovations and constantly "destabilize" themselves. Drawing on case studies of organizations including the Capital One credit card company and the Marine Corps, the authors apply these insights to basic business functions like inventory, pricing, product development and Web services. Their fluent, breathless style, replete with outré theorizing, maintains a relentless tone of future-shock over developments that are mostly high-tech extensions of age-old business practices. While some of their farther-out prognostications-e.g., virtual-reality "experience machines"-may prove that nothing gets dated faster than futurism, there are enough pragmatic applications here for alert executives to chew on. 18 line drawings.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Holy cow! Integrating biology, management, nanotech, and evolution—if you loved James Gleick’s Chaos, you’ll love It’s Alive
.”—SETH GODIN, author of Survival is Not Enough
“Clearly captures the profound impact that biologically inspired technology and technology-infused biology will have on every aspect of our economy and society.” —RAY KURZWEIL, inventor and author of The Age of Spiritual Machines
“The book to read for anyone concerned about business innovation at a time when nothing seems to be going right.”—Antonio Damasio, Van Allen Professor of Neurology, University of Iowa, and author of Looking for Spinoza
“Read this exciting and sweeping book to regrind your own conceptual lenses for understanding business in the twenty-first century—the age of discontinuity.”—JOHN SEELY BROWN, former director of Xerox PARC
“The Web is marrying the biological revolution and driving change in one industry after another. Chris Meyer and Stan Davis not only describe the coming revolution but provide a plan for prospecting in it.”—Juan Enriquez, director of the Life Sciences Project,
Harvard Business School, and author of As the Future Catches You
“A CEO-level guide to the forces reshaping our economy. Meyer and Davis have created an essential tool kit for future growth.”—Mick Yates, former group chairman, Johnson & Johnson Consumer