In need to find something?
Custom Search
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chasm-ic thoughts...

Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Image taken from the Blue.Coffee blog, hosting by PhotobucketIf you think about it, all disciplines are inter-related at some levels. There certainly are phenomena that can be studied from a mathematics, physics or chemical point of view - or all three at once - like osmosis, for instance. Oh, and from a water filter marketing point of view, too - but that's a totally different story.

But what about other, not so pure scientific fields? Like political science and the study of technology adoption? Is there a point where these two different areas could meet?

Before Walski delves deeper into this, allow him to digress a bit (don't you hate it when he does that?).

As some of you may know, Walski's involved with the Oil & Gas industry. More specifically, however, Walski's career (the real life one) actually revolves around industrial process control, and more recently process safety as well. Even more specifically, it revolves around the niche IT aspect of this discipline - control and safety systems. So you could say, in a very broad way, that Walski's an IT person.

Since migrating from the engineering side of the business, to a more sales/marketing-centric role, some nine years ago, Walski's been exposed to a lot of marketing sciences (or pseudo-science, as some purists may claim). While Walski maintains that Dogbert's Top Secret Management Handbook is one of those must have-books for every business manager, a more notable serious work is that of Silicon Valley tech consultant/guru, Geoffery Moore. In particular, the book where he writes about The Chasm.
(moore orChasmic thoughts [pun & misspelling intended], in the full post)

The word "chasm" quite simply means a deep opening in the Earth's surface. And what does this have to do with the adoption of technology? Rather than verbally explaining this, have a look a the diagram below.

Image taken from Kitten Lulu, hosting by PhotobucketGeoffery Moore's chasm explained
(picture taken from Kitten Lulu)

The chasm in Geoffery Moore's observation is the acceptance gap between early technology adopters and the early mainstream, which essentially gives the technology in question critical mass, and momentum, before it gains an even wider acceptance.

Walski realizes that this has been a rather long digression - but a necessary one, he thinks. So anyway, here's what occured to Walski this morning.

What Malaysia is now witnessing is a chasm-crossing of another kind - politically. Transitioning from a race-based political landscape, to a more issue orientated, race neutral one. And the chasm crossing event? The recent 12th General Elections - that singlular kick-butt event that's gotten all sides of the political divide reeling. Sorta like the Malaysian political Big Bang, if you would - in more ways than one, actually - since, along the way, a few political stalwarts really got fucked in the process...

If Walski were to re-draw the Moore Bell-curve, based on what's happening here, it would look something like this.

Image hosting by Photobucket

In other words, the idea of race-neutral politics is that one key thing that BN needs to adopt - UMNO in particular. Or at least, what UMNO's grassroots memebership and their RM50-a-shot supporters need to get thru their thick skulls. If they want to remain relevant, that is.

Now, Walski certainly is no political scientist, or scientist of any kind, for that matter. Unless you want to take into consideration the honorific title of doktor ayam that his pub-kakis gave him many years ago... But let's not go there.

One thing Walski does have is a keen observation, and a knack of putting 2 and 2 together, and arriving at 6 - the extra 50% being the hidden obvious that most people don't see.

Seriously though, as much as politics based on race may have been relevant once upon a time, that time is no longer. After 50 years of nation building, we're faced with new challenges like globalization and crime - challenges which have nothing to do with race, per se. And to remain relevant, one has to adapt to his or her environment. The socio-political environment of today is certainly different from that in 1957, or even 38 years ago, in 1969.

So why are we still persistant on running our country based on irrelevant paradigms?

You'll notice that in Walski's redrawn chart, the lighter orange shaded area transcends into the "Pragmatists" part of the Bell Curve. Walski believes that there are those within BN who would agree that to remain relevant, their political mindset has to change. But for that to happen, UMNO has to come to terms with what really is going on. In Walski's mind, UMNO, for the most part are still stubbornly clueless, clinging on to the ketuanan mindset that the voting population has clearly rejected - and it's not Walski alone who thinks so (via Ktemoc Konsiders).

And the culture of ampu-titis within BN, and UMNO in particular, has to change. It's no big secret that UMNO is the lynchpin that keeps BN intact. Mukhriz Mahathir has tried to buck that entrenched way of thinking - but Walski fears that because the prevailing mindset is so entrenched, his political career may suffer as a result.

Walski's introduction to Geoffery Moore's chasm insight came via a video from Harvard Business Review on Disruptive Technologies. Among other things, the video presented how the 5¼" disk drive business was just about totally displaced by the advent of 3½" technologies, despite a very low acceptance of the latter initially.

What Walski sees is a similar trend in politics, here and now. The stupid stunt pulled by UMNO this past week in Penang, Shah Alam and Kuala Kangsar doesn't bode well for the party, or for the BN coalition. Keep it up, and they too, like the 5¼" disk, will one day become obsolete.

In truth, our own Chasm offers one of two simple choices - cross over, or fade away into its abyss...