From Publishers Weekly
The twin waves of globalization and information technology present business opportunities that Oliver, a professor at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University, maps with mixed success. A former Northern Telecom executive, Oliver decrees intriguingly that the information age is over, and we are at the dawning of what he calls the "Bio-Materials Age," where manipulating organic matter?be it agriculture output or environmental pollutants?will be where the next commercial battles are fought. To get from here to there, Oliver offers his seven imperatives, presented in the middle third of the book. The problem is that some of them?"think global/act global," "replace rules with roles"?will strike many managers as old news. And where Oliver raises engaging ideas, e.g., "make customers your marketing department," "personalize everything," his examples from companies such as Honda and Wells Fargo are fuzzy at best. Perhaps his greatest contribution here is forcing readers to anticipate how the next waves of change will transform the way they do business in the "post-information society."
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Oliver is a management professor specializing in corporate strategy, global marketing, and new business creation at Vanderbilt University's Owen Graduate School of Management. Like many other authorities, he cites rapid globalization and technological change as causes for the "chaos" we face in "the new world of business." Also like many others, he refers to this "new world" as a "global village." What is original about Oliver's scenario is his contention that we are at the end of the information age. He compares information to energy; both are essential but neither is any longer "the engine that drives and shapes the . . . economy." Instead, we are about to enter the "age of bio-materials." Oliver predicts how organizations, products, markets, and strategies will change in a new era shaped by biotechnology and the new materials that it will create. David Rouse