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Friday, December 3, 2010

Adapt or Die

Notice anything strange about the following stories?

Universities in Wales told to 'adapt or die' (BBC News 3rd December 2010)
Education Minister Leighton Andrews has told universities and further education colleges in Wales there will be fewer of them by 2013. Those that survive will be those that respond best to the government's agenda, which makes future funding dependent on a willingness to "progress swiftly to merger and reconfiguration".
(By the way, that doesn't sound like adaptation so much as shotgun wedding.)

UK: Scotland 'Adapt or die' warning to companies (BBC News 4 October 1999)
Independent research, commissioned by a leading internet company, suggests small and medium sized (SMEs) firms are failing to invest in new technologies and could be losing their competitive advantage.

Net industry told to adapt or die
(BBC News 23 October, 2002)
Britain's broadband industry must start co-operating or face going bust.

Computers upset the workplace (BBC News 17 September, 2002)
In the long run technology does not cost jobs, it moves them around. Humans simply have to adapt or die, to retrain in a way that the pre-computer generations never had to.

In these cases, the "adapt or die" meme comes from an outside agent that is trying to impose or sell some kind of change, rather than emerging from the organization's own sense of its future identity and viability.

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