Archive for December, 2008

The Hipsters

December 30, 2008

A good article – although slightly dramatizes the issue – it does hit a nerve – an underlying issue. [for all those buying/replaying Bob Dylan songs!!] To quote

‘We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.”


Matter bites back….

December 25, 2008

A good video by a recognised investor –

That marks the end note for this age of obesity – and by consequence the tipping point for economies driven by excess consumption or production.

Further the deflation in the production consumption bubble heralds the bite back of matter and the rise of the affordance socio-economy [as a fundamental transition management strategy ] .

Value strikes back –

December 24, 2008

Middle classes help Aldi sales soar 21%; Lidl up by 13%; Sainsbury’s weakest of the big four

A very interesting retail direction which to be honest had been coming for some time – if you watch the customer satisfaction surveys.

With premium providers taking a hit, [M&S food leading the way – down 9%] to be relevant in this economy we are going to have to deliver a whole new set of values & innovations to customers if we want their custom recognising.

I would not say Aldi and Lidl are the future but they certainly point towards a new value model – albeit a very crude first draft – where affordance value is increasingly a critical driver.

By consequence, we believe strategies & designs which innovate and optimise not only the cost but the very affordance value of things, buildings & assets will be holy grail of the coming reformation.

A Many2Many Future

December 24, 2008

If the 1980’s recession was attacked through the atomisation of existing social structures. It is increasingly likely to us and trends we see around us that this time around we shall see a response based not upon the further atomisation of society but instead the harnessing of tactics employed by the web2.0.

Where we will aim to build a whole new set of real-time dynamic institutions that are able to level the affordance, effectiveness and efficiency of a group, a collective, a community and a common.

This trend is starting to redraw boundaries across consumers, producers, investors, designers – that bridge all these positions to create a new community/collective and a new starting position – where the purpose & the community comes first.

Below is a list of key ingredients we have developed/discovered/learnt over the course of the last few years.

10 ingredients to Group Forming:

  • BINDING PRINCIPLE Is there a necessary shared purpose that the group can accomplish together – a method to bind the group. This may be immediate or distant [a distant purpose will require greater visibility and prominence if it is to facilitate group forming.]
  • DOING IDENTITY Does each member have a visible identity? Can we tell who’s who and what they are doing & have done, even if members remain anonymous?
  • APPROPRIATE MEDIUM What is the appropriate medium for sharing information, ideas, learnings or things. When not facilitated by corporate structures – groups rely heavily on informal encounters, transactions and intermediaries to play a critical role in the group value ecology?
  • MACRO TRUST INFRASTRUCTURES How can we actively seed & build trust within the group? What tells us that it’s safe to deal with other people in the community?
  • PERSONAL TRUST INFRASTRUCTURES How do we form reputations [thorough p2p relationship, thorough p2host relationships or thorough a mediating reputation platform ? What lets us build status and how do we do it?
  • GROWTH STRATEGY Have we created ways for small sub-groups/specialities groups to emerge? A growth model that is predicated on fractal behaviour as opposed to pure scaling.
  • GATEKEEPING & GOVERNANCE How do we know who belongs in our community and who doesn’t – and simultaenously how do we keep the community open to prevent it ossifying into an old boys club? What’s our system of governance? How do we regulate behavior so that it supports our shared values whilst keeping it open to change?
  • MEMBERSHIP What is the give-get between the ‘group’ and the members? It is important to seed a “contribution to the commons’ principle if the group is to be sustainable.
  • LEVERAGING Are members able to harness the ‘collective affordance’ of the group.
  • MEMORY & FORGETTING Do we have ways to review our history and to track evolution — and leave behind what’s best forgotten? Forgetting or re-evaluation is a critical behavior – if we are to cater for individual evolution within a group context.

Spending like a drug addiction –

December 24, 2008


If spending is like a drug addiction – then the question is what is the Methadone treatment for our socio-economy. As I fear we need to worry significantly about transition management – if we are not to suffer a social system shock.

The Collapse of the Middle Classes

December 24, 2008

A very critical analysis into the vulnerability of our middle classes. I fear the middle classes may be doomed to significant collapse – as this reformation unwinds – as BMW man returns to becoming Cortina man…

Paul Krugman 2007 – The Coming Crash

December 24, 2008

Pointers towards a new way forward – [an old video – but still remarkably relevent] from a massive decline of house prices [I suspect the HPC will be more in the region of 50% unfortunately – to a need to shift focus from mathematical financial engineering led economy towards a value engineering one – this maybe a big issue for London….

Professor Nouriel Roubini – Car Manufacturers Bailout..

December 24, 2008

I agree with the Professor that car manufacturers are systemically important to the current socio-economy – but the key question is whether they will be systemically important to the new economy. If not then this is a very expensive holding position… and the question arises whether there is an alternative transition management plan…

The next crash – credit cards & unsecured loans

December 24, 2008

The second unwinding !!

The decline of the premium market…

December 24, 2008

The Decline of Luxury Goods

A good blog – that highlights the fact luxury goods are not immune to a recession – though worth noting that in parallel ethical consumption is expected to rise. I feel this reflects a new ‘inconspicuous consumption’ trend – that I suspect will be critical to the luxury/premium market.

How this inconspicuous consumption will manifest in terms of design and the nature of the product is up for debate – but the obvious polar extremes of invisible consumption and ‘for-public benefit’ consumption seem probable strategies.