18 September 2006

Corporation 2020: Free Press Inside the Corporation

The first in a series of musings about corporations in the future ....

Today, the cost of "broadcasting" video has dropped exponentially. Video production equipment that once cost millions is now available for a few thousand, thanks to technology from folks like Video Toaster. Video, like print after the Gutenburg Press, will rapidly proliferate as costs plummet. (During medieval times, one man actually sold his house in order to get enough to buy a Bible.)

This suggests that a new type of journalism will emerge, doing for corporations what journalism of the 18th century did for the nation-state. Coverage of what is really going on inside of corporations has already begun with blogs. Soon, this will spread to more sophisticated forms of media, imitating the professional and argumentative tone of political media within modern democracies.

Many of the traditional corporations will likely resist this - reinforcing the notion that modern corporations are not places that grant employees simple rights like freedom of speech. Just as oppressive governments use the cover of national security, corporations will use the cover of proprietary knowledge and competition sensitive to mute their internal reporters and critics. But the enlightened corporations will embrace this as a means to check bad management, test policy options, and gain fuller involvement in the important task of policy formulation.

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