Close ☰
Menu ☰

Volunteered Personal Information

Posted on: Thursday 9th of July 2009

I’ve just finished putting the finishing touches to our new research report on ‘Volunteered Personal Information’ (VPI). Probably the biggest challenge has been to communicate the scale of the VPI challenge – and opportunity – without descending into a series of ever more grandiose superlatives.

In a sense, the first sentence of the report says it all: “Organisations are facing a once-in-a-century change in how they conduct their relationships with individuals (customers, citizens).”

It’s ‘once-in-a-century’ because the conditions that define the status quo today – a communications environment dominated by ‘top down’ flows of information from organisations to customers – originated a hundred years ago in the industrial age, and haven’t changed much in essence since. (We’ve been through many technological revolutions – from print to radio and then TV broadcasting, satellite communications, even the Internet itself in its early days – but they all reinforced the status quo of ‘top down’ )

Within the next 5-10 years however, the conditions that created this entire information and communication system (what we call the Organisational Communication Model) will no longer exist. This means previously well-understood terms like ‘relationship management’ and ‘marketing strategy’ need to be reinvented. The potential win-wins are huge. Massive waste reduction. New business opportunities. And so on. But these ‘wins’ can be counter-intuitive.

Our Report is a first attempt to map how and why this landscape is changing, and what it means for organisations. It’s been a fascinting journey.

Read Doc Searls’ Foreward to the VPI Report