Get Naked says Don Tapscott

Every firm should have a nudity strategy, says Don Tapscott.

Greater transparency, Mr Tapscott argues, is an unstoppable force. It is the product of growing demand from everybody with an interest in any corporation—what he calls its “stakeholder web”—and of rapid technological change, above all the spread of the internet, that makes it far easier for
firms to supply information, and harder for them to keep secrets. (Firms now know that their internal e-mail may one day become public knowledge, for instance, and many big companies must co-exist with independent websites where employees can meet anonymously to air their grievances.)

With greater transparency, says Mr Tapscott, will come greater accountability and better corporate behaviour. Rather than engage in futile resistance to it, firms should actively embrace transparency, and rethink their values and generally get in better shape. “If you're going to be naked, you'd better be buff,” is how he sums up his argument, ever aware of the need for a colourful soundbite.

Mr Tapscott believes that more transparency and better behaviour will bear economic fruit—not least by avoiding catastrophic collapses like those at Enron and WorldCom. He cites approvingly the transparent way the head of Microsoft's website shared details of problems occuring on the site, and Prudential Securities, which was so open with staff that their loyalty grew even as it made redundancies. He boldly predicts that, in a transparent world, advertising and spin will be less effective.

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