Saturday, November 17, 2007

Beating the Wal-Mart Effect

My wife and i spent a romantic Friday night watching The Corporation,

and Wal-Mart: The Hight Cost of Low Price,

and though we known it before, it became even more clear what the mission of is, and that is to do our part to prevent two things:
  1. The "Wal-Mart Effect" on small business (small businesses dying off as a result of large businesses moving into a community and exerting their pricing influence past where smaller businesses can compete), and
  2. Corporatization of America (consumers and employees becoming less aware and less involved in the organizations that shape our lives)
These two things have exerted a heavy influence on SMB's in America for quite a while, and many have gone out of business by trying to beat big businesses at their own game. It's our idea that the game needs to change altogether - especially where SMB's are concerned. Here is a little graphic of the two forces i seem to see exerting influence on the SMB today. On the right is the still-dominant paradigm for business. On the left is the new paradigm we're proposing:

BigTreeTop's contribution to the solution is by starting with small and mid-sized businesses and organizations, to provide a platform that will help them to more easily adopt co-creative practices with their employees, customers, and business partners, by involving them in some decision making, story-telling, community and partnership-building and creation of value itself. We are sure it will have at least the following two effects on small business in local economies:
  1. It will help to stave off the Wal-Mart effect on SMB's and their local economies by improving the advantages they already have over large businesses trying to exert their influence: real community, adaptability and customer loyalty beyond just product and service value
  2. It will provide consumers with increased ownership of the success of their local businesses and economy
..and we are reasonably sure that it will have the following two effects on the big businesses in the national economy:
  1. Large organizations will be forced to involve employees and customers in deeper co-creation as a source of real competitive advantage.
  2. Deeper co-creative involvement of customers and employees in large organizations will lessen their ability to take part in unsustainable business practices.
What we're proposing is a pretty radical new way of thinking about organizations and their boundaries which suggests that, with the right platform and process in place, an organization which blurs its boundaries and emphasizes the deep involvement of its community of employees, customers and business partners will be more successful than an organization which does not. We think that SMB's and smaller non-profits can benefit more naturally from co-creation, since it merely magnifies what they do already - which is to be a part of a real-live community of people who are concerned not only about the cost value of a business's products and services, but about the business itself, its people and its existence within a local and national economy.

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