Boards need to get their heads around this development, and quickly, lest the companies they govern get overtaken as consumer preferences change. The pressing question is "how":
The desire to connect everything to everything else, via the Internet, appears to be alive and well amongst some sectors of society. The name that's been given to the emerging trend is the "Internet of Things". Essentially, the concept is one whereby everyday devices have embedded computers and two-way Internet connectivity, thus enabling them to send and receive data. If this proposal gathers sufficient steam—certainly the term seems to be entering the mainstream of business consciousness if these Forbes and Guardian articles are any indication—uber-connectedness is likely to have a significant impact on businesses and business models and, consequently, the strategic choices that boards need to make.
My suggestion: Find a business strategist with expertise in this area (not just a populist consultant or local self-styled "expert"), and a respected academic, and invite them to lead a discussion at your next board strategy day. If you need an independent facilitator, I'd be happy to help. Ask a few of your customers, suppliers and staff to join the conversation as well—their comments may surprise you!
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.