Strategy. Innovation. Brand.

Is Nicholas Carr making sense?

I’ve never much agreed with Nicholas Carr, who wrote the famous Harvard Business Review article, “IT Doesn’t Matter” in 2003. His argument was that information is like electricity — everybody can get it and therefore it can’t differentiate one company from another. IT doesn’t matter any more than electricity matters.  To me, this is like saying that we all have brains and, therefore, having a brain doesn’t provide any of us competitive advantage.  I think many people would ague that it’s what you do with your brain that confers the advantage. Similarly, it’s what you do with information — via the IT function — that can confer important advantages.

While I don’t generally agree with him, I found his interview with Rotman magazine fascinating.  (The magazine is published by the Rotman School of Management at Toronto University). I especially liked his insight on crowd-sourcing — it’s a good way to complete tiresome, repetitive tasks — like debugging software — but it almost never leads to innovation.  You can read the complete interview by clicking here.

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