Source R M Kanter
At the e-G8 Forum in Paris this week, the Internet was venerated as a revolutionary force changing everything. French President Sarkozy, who commissioned the forum to provide recommendations to the G8 heads of state, was extravagant in his praise, calling it a new world and the eighth continent. Internet moguls from Facebook, Google, and Groupon were more subdued in their claims, undoubtedly cautious that France, Japan, America, and other sovereign nations are trying to plant their flags and impose their rules on the new world.
The fact of change is unmistakable. Every aspect of traditional industries is affected by Internet tools and social networks, as I proposed in my e-G8 talk for the plenary session on digital reinvention. The economic potential is starting to be measured. A McKinsey Global Institute study unveiled at e-G8 estimated that Internet economic output is bigger than Spain and growing faster than Brazil. Web-intensive SMEs grow twice as fast, export twice as much, and are more profitable than non-Web-enabled, the McKinsey study concluded.
The theme of empowerment of individuals and small enterprises resonated throughout the forum. Christine Lagarde, French finance minister, said that digital technologies would drive 5.5% of future growth of France and help people become self-employed. John Donahue, eBay CEO: 17,000 people are employed by eBay but 1.3 million earn a living from it. There was much talk of empowerment. While not taking credit for Arab Spring, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, noted that Facebook should be thought of not in terms of 500 million users but many more millions of overlapping communities based on mutual interests. Groupon CEO Andrew Mason says that Groupon empowers local small business owners.
But with all the talk of revolution, disruption, and really big change, I was struck by the things that are not changing — or at least, not yet.
Read all at http://blogs.hbr.org/kanter/2011/05/the-internet-changes-everythin.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+harvardbusiness+%28HBR.org%29