An evolving system of contacts
In a relatively stable world of little change, it is possible to establish a group of contacts and have a reasonable expectation that these associations will last indefinitely. Once a full quota of friends and business associates has been set up there is little reason to change them, or, make any special efforts to add more.
In the fast moving world of e-business, with a rapidly changing technology and continuous innovation, life is not so simple. The range of different kinds of information and speciality assistance required will be an order of magnitude greater than in the world of bricks and mortar; creating a need for a far larger and more versatile group of contacts. This would necessitate having to continuously work at establishing new contacts and relationships to cope with the changes.
This may seem straight forward enough, but, the big problem is that it places immense strains on personal bandwidth limitations. It is no simple matter too go through the necessary procedures of finding and establishing new contacts that you can rely on and trust. Neither is it easy to maintain regular contact with a large group of people. Something has to give and what has to be discarded is the conventional idea of relationships.
A highly volatile, competitive environment would mean goal posts constantly on the move. As fast as one problem is solved another one will take its place. Plans and ideas are soon out of date. There will be a premium on intelligence and information to know what changes are taking place and where the future is heading. There would be a continuous need for new contacts and new sources of information and expertise.
The situation could be likened to a guided missile, trying to follow a target that is continuously getting up to newer and newer tricks of avoidance. This would necessitate designers continuously at work designing new types of fins and control systems to keep the target in sight.
Mapping this idea across to the world of e-business, it would involve strategists continuously at work to add new tactics into their strategies. As the tactics would need specialists and experts to implement them, this would generate a need for new tacticians - people - a list of associates and contacts who influence ideas and decision making. If a current list of contacts cannot cope with the changes, the list of contacts would have to be changed.
In practice, this will mean that in the pursuit of a goal, in the ever changing environment of e-business, there would need to be pauses every now and again, to redefine the goals, and estimate how the goals were changing. Then an assessment would need to be made as to the suitability of current contacts in achieving those goals. Inevitably, this would involve changes in the contacts, dropping some and bringing in others.
In this way, a group of contacts would evolve and adapt, according to changing circumstances. This immediately calls to mind the genetic algorithm as being an appropriate strategy to use in this situation. It works in exactly this way: proceeding a step at a time and, at each step, removing the least suitable and continuing with the most suitable. This is the same, provenly successful strategy, that has been employed by all biological organisms over millions of years. Organisms compete with each other to survive in the continuously changing, competitive biological world - a world not too dissimilar to that of the e-business environment.