The Australian - The Deal - - Trends | People | Events -

There’s move­ment at the of­fice for the word has got around. The se­nior man­age­ment team and the board no longer have an ap­petite for risk. And who can blame them? The world has shifted in the past decade and things continue to change rapidly as a con­se­quence of so­cial me­dia. The re­cent Alan Jones mo­ment con­firmed busi­ness can no longer ig­nore pop­u­lar think­ing and move­ments em­pow­ered by the new tech­nol­ogy. In­stead of cus­tomers and stake­hold­ers sit­ting and fum­ing in si­lence, so­cial me­dia plat­forms have the abil­ity to unite the dis­af­fected and lever­age their anger into pres­sure on busi­ness and gov­ern­ment. Don’t like that ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign or that pol­icy or the be­hav­iour of that in­di­vid­ual? Then wreak re­venge and havoc upon any as­so­ci­ated busi­ness or in­di­vid­ual un­til the sit­u­a­tion is “cor­rected”. Oddly, one favoured so­cial me­dia topic is bul­ly­ing and yet pro­po­nents see noth­ing ironic in band­ing to­gether to force a de­sired out­come. Where will this end? I’m sure big busi­ness will now fo­cus on brand man­age­ment is­sues to such an ex­tent that the old no­tion of risk aver­sion morphs into risk elim­i­na­tion. Don’t do any­thing that might be mis­con­strued. Or, be­fore do­ing any­thing, get it legalled, have PR go over it, have ev­ery­one sign off on any project, so that should it go awry no in­di­vid­ual is to blame. The prob­lem with this type of think­ing is that it erodes in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneuri­al­ism. And yet these are the very bases upon which cre­ative new in­dus­tries and busi­nesses are built. If in to­day’s world busi­ness is too timid to do any­thing dif­fer­ent for fear of so­cial me­dia retri­bu­tion, then we will have stul­ti­fied en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit. There needs to be a counter-bal­anc­ing so­cial me­dia cul­ture that tol­er­ates mis­takes, that cel­e­brates the edgy, that sup­ports those who take a chance. Hope­fully, the sense of bal­ance so of­ten lack­ing from what some might call so­cial me­dia feed­ing fren­zies is not too far away.

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