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We live in transitional times. It was 50 years ago that Thomas Kuhn published “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” which introduced the world to the idea of the “Paradigm Shift” – a term since misappropriated and misused in many walks of life including business. Kuhn was referring to those moments in scientific understanding when the whole frame of reference shifts and the world is reinterpreted in a completely different way. The usual examples are the shifts in understanding brought about by Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and others.

We’ve always seen the banks as being the facilitators of commerce. Depending on your point of view, they’re an invaluable support to business or a necessary evil. Without a properly regulated banking industry, business in the modern world couldn’t function. Or could it? There are changes happening that could make us question what role the banks play and in some industries and supply chains, there could be a better way.

A year ago the conversation was all about whether or not social media and social technologies were relevant in the B2B space. It wasn’t entirely clear whether the enormous impact of Facebook and Twitter would be mirrored by some industrial strength B2B equivalent. A year on and it’s no longer OK to be seen scratching your head quizzically when someone mentions social – if you don’t get it – you’ve had it!

In a comment on an earlier article about the cost of DPO, Richard Fitzwilliam commented: “DPO is a key indicator of a company’s health and is one of the levers which drives a company’s share price and therefore its valuation. Discounting does reduce DPO and therefore has a negative impact on share price.” I would not normally respond to a comment if I disagree with it but Richard's point is  an interesting one and it goes to illustrate very well how DPO, discounting and supply chain finance can be seen in entirely different ways depending on the lens you view them through.

I remember as a little kid being captivated by the imagery in the Tin Tin comic album “Destination Moon”. It’s an outlandish adventure that involves travelling through space in a red and white rocket ship all the way to the moon. And in parallel, the outlandish adventure was being played out for real in the Apollo missions. When Neil Armstrong became the first human being to step on another world, fantasy became reality. Science fiction became science fact and we could dare to dream that anything was possible. The sad news that Neil Armstrong died this weekend serves more than to remind us of that great event in history. It’s also a reminder of that age of adventure when it wasn’t all about money.

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