The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business

Front Cover
Harvard Business Press, 2001 - Business & Economics - 255 pages
Annotation Trillions of documents circulate in U.S. offices annually. Internet traffic doubles every hundred days. Approximately two hundred messages flood managers' desktops daily. Welcome to the attention economy, in which the new scarcest resource isn't ideas or even talent, but attention itself. This groundbreaking book argues that today's businesses are headed for disaster-unless they can overcome the dangerously high attention deficits that threaten to cripple today's workplace. Accenture consultants and academics Thomas Davenport and John Beck explain that the problems for businesspeople lie on both sides of the attention equation: on getting and holding the attention of information-flooded employees, consumers, and stockholders, and on parceling out their own attention in the face of overwhelming options. The resolution: learn to manage this critical yet finite resource, or fail. Drawing from compelling research, the authors outline four perspectives on attention management that are critical to understanding its impact on business: (1) measuring and allocating attention, (2) understanding and leveraging its psychological dimensions, (3) mastering new streamlining technologies, and (4) adapting lessons from traditional attention industries like advertising. Using these perspectives, the authors shine new light on critical business areas including e-commerce, organizational leadership, information and knowledge management, and strategy. Attention management can be applied to help companies improve talent motivation and retention, avoid employee burnout, win customer loyalty on the Web, more effectively sell products and services, impress investors and analysts, and more. The authors also introduce a revolutionary measurement tool, the AttentionScape, that can help diagnose attention distribution problems, determine how the company is directing employees' attention, and analyze the attention the company is getting from customers. The first book to explore the burgeoning attention economy and outline a plan for how organizations must operate within it, this landmark work details how to earn and spend the new currency of business.


A NEW PERSPECTIVE Leadership and Attention
The Measurement of Attention 170

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About the author (2001)

Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Chair at Babson College and a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business.