John Hagel has lead us in a very thought provoking discussion on the issue of attention scarcity. Our group drew out some key aspects of attention that need to be worked through. First was the idea that attention and permission are interlinked and permission is a function of context as well as trust (and privacy). So the timing, extent, depth of my attention to my financial advisor is very different to the attention I may be willing to provide to my cable company. So if you want to increase the level of attention you receive from current and prospective customers you must create capabilities, situations and scenarios that are consistent with the context, needs and expectations of the customer – otherwise you risk “assaulting the customer” at inappropriate times and in inappropriate ways.
Another area we discussed was the use of tools to help manage attention – for example using RSS to channel and manage those information sources that we are willing to give our attention to. John Hagel also provided the example of CISCO which provides diagnostic tools that help customers better identify their needs and help focus the conversation.