Report: Internet Requires Preparation For Extreme

As the Internet changes the business landscape, executives must rethink traditional business models to stay competitive, according to a report recently released by Mainspring Communications Inc., a Cambridge, Mass. business research firm. "It's increasingly important that executives be adept at planning for extreme scenarios," says Patricia McGinnis, managing director of financial services at Mainspring. "The pace of the Internet makes it essential for executives to proactively imagine market scenarios and understand how to expand or reconfigure their business model in response." The report, entitled Rethinking the Business Model, cites several examples within the technology and financial-services industries, but some of the lessons offered may well apply to manufacturing, too. "Managers who hope that the future of Internet initiatives will soon become clear are destined for disappointment," McGinnis says, because the rate of change will not slow. "Forward-thinking managers need to prepare a hypothesis about the likely behavior of their competitors and consider even the most unlikely future scenario if it can have a significant effect on their business."

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