The Next Stage of Individualization
Rethinking Our Growing Dependence on Digital Infrastructure with Significant Monopolistic Power
Trudpert Schelb, Siemens AG
Individualization is about to reach new stages, enabled by new technologies, low entry barriers and new value systems. Technology such as e-commerce platforms allows individuals to produce and consume an increasingly tailored blend of products and services, disrupting traditional business models. In future, further disruption may come from the rise of the DIY economy through 3D printing; a more fragmented energy industry with the rise of affordable solar and wind power; and increased innovation and entrepreneurship with more flexible working models. However, these new stages of individualization may create a dangerous dependence on digital backbone systems, such as IT platforms and smart energy grids, with significant degrees of monopolistic power. As a society we need to rethink how we manage this so that everyone can benefit from these new opportunities.