« It breathes - connecting theories and practice | Main | Breaking News: The day the Internet Crashed »

July 10, 2007


Thank you for the links, Deb. BTW -- I recently solved a few technical issue with TypePad help desk. Although it took a few messages for this user (not a geek) to get the idea through, I got the help I needed.

#4 I say put listening everywhere and help people think on their feet -- critically. If your company culture is solid, if employees understand what you're about and your focus well, they can and will take goo initiative at any level of the organization.

I like your perspectives and wanted to share my own relative to the relationship economy, see below

Relationship Economics

Ever wonder where all this “networking activity is going?” For months I have been formulating my own predictive models and attributes using numerous sources of information. At the risk of sounding a little “futuristic” allow me to provide a picture of what I consider to be a realistic model which will emerge in the not to distant future. First I will categorize my findings into what I call “Relationship Economics” and provide appropriate definitions.

First the word “Relationship” being defined as connection or association; the condition of being related. Second is “Economics” being defined as the study of resource allocation, distribution and consumption; of capital and investment; and of management of the factors of production. So I will define the collective meaning of Relationship Economics as: The people and things we are connected with or have an association to which distribute or consume our “capital” which influences our individual production outputs. We will use the term “capital” meaning that which we give or take that creates numerous forms of value.

Practical Relationship Economics Examples: We have relations with people and things. Both either take or give to our “capital“. People and things take or give us time (capital). People give or take information and knowledge (capital). We work with people to make money (capital). We strive in business to create or loose money (capital). We use machines and
technology that either give or take value (capital). We interact with “things” that either give or take value (capital). We participate in institutions that both give and take value (capital). Our governments provide the means to gain or loose our freedoms (capital). In essence we have relationships with people and things that give, take or both in terms of our individual abilities to be “productive with our capital”. Collectively “Relationship Economics” is about people and things we give or take which influences numerous forms of value, our “capital“.

When you think about the primary means of most interactions we have with people and things it is technologically based. Whether your working, playing or relaxing you ultimately interact with some form of technology, everywhere and in everything. For the most part technology increases the value of our interactions with people and things. It is hidden and assumed.
Initially any new technology takes your time (capital) to learn how to optimize it. However, once proficient you begin to appreciate the value but expect more from it.

When we engage in human relations it takes time to learn whether the interaction creates value and whether the values are in common. When relationships become “disconnected” the primary basis is usually differences in value given or taken and differences in “values”. The primary difference between our interactions with people and things is one of values vs. value. Technology produces value while people dictate the “values” that technology enables for either the building or tearing down of relationships and the related capital.

Relationship Economics is just beginning to take shape and its future has significant rewards. The future,not to distant, will naturally emerge into a convergence of collective technologies which connect us to everything, everywhere. Imagine the following scenarios:

We will have our own network “ Link to Our World” in which we define what is interfaced into our world. Our mobile phone, PDA, Automobile, Television (s), landline telephones and any device in which we receive or transmit communications will be integrated and connected to our Link to The World. Our World portal will have a set of “button” interfaces with people and things categorized by a matrix of relations. Said buttons will appear on our desktop, our mobile phones, our PDA, Televisions, our car screen and any other communication device we use. Some of our devices will contain voice recognition software so we’re able to multi-task safely, i.e in our automobiles, boats or planes. I think you get the picture, everything and everywhere we are able to connect to people and things.

So How Do We give and receive value?

Many of us currently sell products and services in exchange for economic value. The future of Relationship Economics will be based on “value taken vs. value given“. The oldest exchange of value is that known as tithing and it is largely tied to religious organizations. Another exchange of value is that of “tipping for services rendered“. Another old paradigm which the masses have adopted as socially acceptable and expected. Fast forward.

In a world connected to everything everywhere we as individuals are enabled to profile and exchange our value and our values. Already, in today’s market, we’re seeing an exchange of value in terms of relationship introductions and the process of using the means for job recruitment. Job recruiters make money off of placement, an old model of exchange for value which HR departments have adopted as a better method to internal staffing and screening. Now combine the old models of value exchange with a new model. A model in which in the “networked world” we buy tokens of economic value globally. When some one provides us value it is assumed and expected, but not written in contract form, that we would be rewarded according to the perceptions of value by the receiver. The receiver would simply credit our token account with a value they deem appropriate for the benefit gained. In turn we would do the same for those that deliver us value.

Since the technology of the “networked world” provides us with the luxury of efficiency and effectiveness we are able to produce value to whatever degree we choose. The choice is individual. Some will work overtime because others will compensate them for their ability to produce. Others will receive and not compensate, they will be quickly identified as takers, not givers and the entire network will know the difference. The Global exchange of value ignites competitive propositions but the rewards provided are an individual choice, not unlike today’s market of products and services. Deliver value and you gain customers, Deliver defects and you loose them, period.

Relationship Economics will create new mediums, new measures and accelerated exchanges that will displace traditional mediums and totally disrupt and displace existing paradigms. A new world order driven by value exchanges and relationships will emerge and mankind will learn to adapt or lose. Those that don’t adapt and create value will be quickly identified and set apart from the larger network. Value migration will build momentum and create significance, individually and collectively.

More details on this prediction and the related models later. For now: Far fetched or realistic?

We’re building an entire case study supported by models and references as part of our ongoing research. Interested?

What say you?

Jay - wow - longest comment i have ever gotten on my blog - you win the blue ribbon!! Plus - I agree with you thoughts. In other words - to sum up,I have said you have to give to get in the new relationship economy. Sometimes that is as simple as no registration to join a site or as complex as free products and services. Value is indeed the sustainable currency! Thanks for your thoughts ooking forward to reading more!

Deborah - Excellent post! I totally agree that relationships require work, and even with all the technological advances which occur every single day, we, as humans, are the most important part of the equation. We are the ones who must maintain our relationships to see the most results in the emerging Relationship Economy!

I really enjoy reading your blog.

Mark Kerrigan

"Blogger Deborah Schultz said in her July 10th post this year, 'Relationships take work. We all know this and yet we take shortcuts, in our personal and professional lives.'"

The comments to this entry are closed.