I see several interwoven agendas caused by the interface between marketing and technology that all move us towards ‘user-accountability’.
1. The advent of decision-based web-dialogue enabling users to sense needs and co-ordinate responses. Companies no longer have to predict or pre-build product on the basis of guesswork; they can build what you say you want…and infer what you might need next.
2. The ability to share the rich information currently within value-chains in user-defined value-specifications creates the possibility of genuine brand accountability to end users.
3. The ability to physically track and trace product, or people (though RFID) offers huge value opportunities – if shared with individual users.
Just as media convergence enables you to bring videos, music, pictures and books into a single storage ‘pot’, so RFID will enable the same possibilities with physical assets.
4. Finally, the advent of social software – enables people not just to connect their social networks (cf. Linked-in), but to generate incremental value through those networks (cf. del.icio.us, flickr, technorati).
This newfound ability to undertake personal asset management will greatly simplify people’s lives and create new opportunities for value ‘origination’ – unleashing the so-called DIY era, typified by personal publishing and the iPod generation.
Once individuals are ‘in charge’ of their total asset portfolio: physical, information, relationship, and reputational assets, they can begin connect their own ‘internalities’ of their values, to the ‘externalities’ of global production systems…
This ability to connect the user’s richly-informed demand-chain to corporates’ flexible supply-chain suddenly makes woolly notions of win:win economics and corporate social responsibility, not just practical, but actually profitable.
“I want blue, nike-brand T-shirts made from organic cotton, produced in china at labour rates above national average…and it want them by next Tuesday…overprinted with images of my new pet rabbit...and shared with my three best friends - in different locations.”