Read about our views on marketplace changes as well as updates on our research and event programmes.

Innovating out of stagnation

Posted: 31st August, 2011 | 0 comments

Innovating out of stagnation is the only way out of our current economic situation. Utilising and capitalising on the vast untapped wealth of information now available is one of the key areas for focus argues a succession of business thinkers. Enter the Control Shift.

One can look at the global economic situation and think that there is no hope for creating new opportunities and just to knuckle down, keep your head down and keep doing the same but with less. Or worse, to respond with the complacency that a few fiscal cuts and shoring-up the banks will be enough too…

Ariadne's Thread

Posted: 29th August, 2011 | 0 comments

In the Greek myth the only way Theseus can survive the dreaded Labyrinth is to rely on the thread given to him by Ariadne: a thread that lets him navigate the maze successfully. I think understanding the new market for decision support – helping individuals make (and implement) better decisions – is playing a similar role as we navigate our own maze: the confusing transition from an industrial to an information age.


Helping people make better decisions is rising to the top of the value food chain and changing the way markets work in the process. The ramifications seep…

In this month's issue we highlight new thinking about the emerging market for decision-making services, looking at one example of how an innovative brand is helping its customers make better purchasing decisions. We also cover our recent research with large organisations involved in the Government's mydata programme. This is all followed by a quick round-up of some interesting market news.

The Invisible market

In a series of blog posts we've explored the rise of the new market for information, tools and services that enable people to  make better decisions. We've showed:

how most organisations haven’t even recognised…

An evolving market

Posted: 25th August, 2011 | 0 comments

Helping people make better decisions is becoming a new market in its own right: with the new tools and services, based on new types of business model, offering different types of value, and competing around different things. But just how big and important is this market?

Here are two ways of thinking about this question.

First, what proportion of the population need/want to make better decisions, and how often? Hmmm. That looks like everybody, every day – from the most trivial decisions to the most life-changing: a pretty big market in other words. (In fact, we’re looking at the…

The market that changes markets

Posted: 23rd August, 2011 | 0 comments

It really is textbook stuff: when the price of something goes down, effective demand for it goes up. The 'price' of decision-making is now plummeting, and demand for decision-support services is soaring. There are countless historical precedents. For example:

Within a space of ten years Henry Ford slashed the price of a car by more than 90%, he transformed a luxury market into a mass market and in doing so, ushered in the modern age of mass, industrial production.
In 1860, it would cost the average labourer ten hours work to buy one lumen of lighting (in the…

Markets’ very own climate change

Posted: 19th August, 2011 | 0 comments



For many years now, our view of human decision making has been that we are ‘rational’ creatures, assiduously collecting all the facts, sifting and weighing their relevance and relative importance, carefully assembling them into alternative options which we can evaluate in order to make a final decision that ‘maximises our utility’ (which can be defined by some sort of objective criteria).


20th century economists based their theories on such assumptions, and businesses and Governments believed what the economists told them. We now know this view has about as much credibility as other folk wisdoms such as the…

The invisible market

Posted: 17th August, 2011 | 0 comments

Over the next few weeks I’m going to do a series of short blogs exploring a gear change in the way markets work, triggered by one aspect of the control shift: the unfolding consumer decision-making revolution.

The bottom line is this. For the last hundred years or so, commercial activities have been organised around identifying and meeting peoples’ consumption needs, via markets for products and services.

Now however, a new level of economic activity is emerging around another set of consumer needs: their decision-making needs – needs that, for the most part, have largely been ignored and which therefore remain…

With cost savings firmly in their sights, the UK Government are paving the way for a wave of new services built around the individual and their data. There is a recognition by the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee that by enabling individuals to manage their own data Government in its various forms will create huge efficiency savings and improve the quality of the services offered through improving the quality of the data about the individual. In itself this is a massive opportunity for the UK to improve it's economy but when you add to that the fact that…

Customer journeys

Posted: 10th August, 2011 | 0 comments

Two years ago, McKinsey reported on a multi-category, multi country research project which showed that in the face of exploding product choices and digital channels, the increasing need for two way conversations with consumers and "the emergence of an increasingly discerning, well-informed consumer", marketing strategies that rely on "influencing customers by relying solely on one-way, push advertising" were losing traction.

They’ve just revisited this research and report that “this evolution has only accelerated” as consumers go online to social networks, blogs, review forums etc “to quench their thirst for objective advice about products”.

McKinsey draw one important…

Francis Maude has today launched a public consultation on open data. The online consultation asks the public, businesses and other interested parties for their views on:

how we might enhance a ‘right to data’, establishing stronger rights for individuals, businesses and other actors to obtain data from public service providers
how to set transparency standards that enforce this right to data
how public service providers might be held to account for delivering open data
how we might ensure collection and publication of the most useful data
how we might make the internal workings of government and…

Just come across the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee’s report on Government’s use of IT. Entitled “recipe for rip-offs: time for a new approach” it covers lots of things but one in particular struck my eye.

Here are its conclusions on the specific issue of Personal Data Ownership.

“Giving control of personal data to the individual has the potential to improve data quality while reducing both costs and risks. Individuals are used to controlling their own data with private sector companies, such as Amazon and with utility companies.
Moving to a model where the citizen maintains…