Monthly Archives: January 2010

Buggy Whip makers, analogies of struggling governments

rough thoughts here

Article raises some analogies to governments failing to make the transition to the digital age

This is the central quote

It’s unlikely that we would even refer metaphorically to buggy whip makers if it weren’t for Theodore Levitt, a Harvard Business School professor. In 1960, he wrote about their plight in a Harvard Business Review article, “Marketing Myopia”; hundreds of thousands of reprints have been sold.

In the article, Mr. Levitt said that businesses should concentrate on their customers’ needs, not on specific products. If only the buggy whip makers had thought of themselves as being in the personal transportation business, providing a stimulant or catalyst to an energy source, Mr. Levitt wrote, they might have survived into the automotive era.

Then this article about voter unrest in California suggests how legislatures are struggling to reform government under current budget pressures.  Perhaps most important, the reforms are merely trying to make the old model work cheaper.  No reforms proposed to “trash” the old model and bring in something completely new.

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