Economy of Meaning & Creation of Value

Mon, Feb 21, 2011


The core of a business and the reason it makes money is the meaning that business creates.

Let’s take Apple for example.  The core value to Apple’s products is the individualization and expansion of connectedness: expansion meaning the ease with which connectedness can happen, and connectedness meaning access to information and communication. This has been Apples core offering, from the Personal Computer to the iPad. But what meaning does this create for individuals?

First, individualization has allowed users to tailor the access they need more closely to their lives, meaning they have been able to become connected when they need to. This need is driven by the internal drive to create meaning, and like a plant that needs nourishment at just the right time and to the right amount, this expansion has allowed individuals to supply their internal process of growth with exactly the connectedness required at just the right time to achieve flow in the growth of consciousness. Note that I will cover both the process of flow and social dimensions of meaning in future posts.

In effect, Apple leads the industry because it is the primary meaning creation entity of the industry.  Other copycat vendors have simply copied Apples inventions without really understanding the meaning created but because everything else Apple does can be replicated, outsourced, and made more efficient, they have succeeded in competing.  Yet as long as Apple can create new meaning it will remain at the top of the heap.

This illustrates an important point, A company, even if not a pure Economy of Meaning company can contain a small nucleus of the The Economy of Meaning within it and more prominent this part of the business, the more protected the organization against competition, since it is extremely difficult to replicate meaning creation.

Another good example is Facebook.  Its primary value creation has been the realization that the world consists of relationships and that these relationships must be exclusive (i.e. controlled by the user).  This control in choosing relationships has allowed individuals to create networks that are spam free and so allow for a much more relevant flow of information, relevant because such information has aided individuals create meaning. Everything else Facebook does is replicable, and other companies such as Myspace had created exactly those parts of Facebook that could be replicated, yet they did not succeed because they did not incorporate the primary meaning that Facebook brought to their users.

Thus the primary function of an organization must be to evaluate and define the meaning it creates.  No longer do we have to search for answers to nebulous questions such as: “what is unique about your business?” or “what makes you stand out?”  Instead the organization must answer this one simple, yet profound question:  “What meaning is your organization creating?”

Articulate the answer to this one crucial question and you have a winner.


2 Responses to “Economy of Meaning & Creation of Value”

  1. Ramin Mellegard Says:

    The word ‘tailer’ in third paragraph, first sentence, should read ‘tailor’, surely?
    But love this thesis, and the author is an old friend, and I hugely admire this whole synopsis of the mind, meaning and evolution of the human brain immensely.


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