The world is seeing unprecedented change. The only constant is constant change. The old established approaches and institutions are being reinvented by technological advancements, the sharing economy, and the new disruptive organisations that embrace them.
Hierarchical v Distributed Models
Uber, the world’s biggest taxi company, owns no cars. Alibaba, the most biggest retailer, has no stock. Facebook, the world’s biggest media platform, generates no content. And Airbnb, the world’s biggest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.
Closed models with centralised control are being replaced by more efficient open and collaborative alternatives.
A great example of this is the open source approach to web development. The original hierarchical approach with centralised control greatly restricted the number of people that could work on a project. With the advent of github; hundreds, thousands or even millions of people can now contribute to projects and shared platforms. This has led to the creation of open source platforms like WordPress and Magento. They have given millions of people free access to really powerful platforms – making it possible for people to launch businesses or pursue their interests.
The same open source methodology has huge potential to disrupt and improve over industries such as law and the legal system.
If you went back 15 years and asked any economist about the potential of Wikipedia which was reliant on volunteers with no money and no employees, most, if not all, would have totally dismissed it. The vast resources and armies of professional contributors working on Microsoft’s Encarta made it a much safer bet. However, despite its deep pockets on power owners Encarta was discontinued after a few years. Whereas Wikipedia now has over 27 billion words in 40 million articles in 293 languages which dwarfs paper based encyclopedias.
Rachel Botsman made the case for adopting collaborative approaches back in 2010. Nearly half a decade on the sharing economy is in full swing yet our political system remains in the dark ages
More recently again, blockchain has opened up new possibilities. It works by allowing verification and validation happen simultaneously across thousands of separate machines. This, along with military grade elliptic curve cryptography, makes blockchain unhackable. This technology underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and it will have profound impact on many industries.
It gives us the potential to move to new, fairer and more sustainable distributed financial and economic models that are fit for purpose in todays world. Removing our current reliance on hierarchical systems of today that are controlled by the nation states and financial institutions. History has shown us that this centralised control of money always has and always will result in the exploitation the population.
“Give a man a gun and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank and he can rob the world”
The power of collaboration should not be underestimated, it is our biggest asset. It is the primary reason credited to our evolutionary success.
About 30,000 years ago we shared the planet and competed with Neanderthals. So why did we survive and they didn’t? Homosapiens had more developed social structures so were better equipped to share and collaborate, giving us the edge.
Recent developments in behavioural economics, anthropology, and social psychology have demonstrated that much of what we’ve been taught was in fact wrong. We’ve been led to believe we are individuals, special and unique snowflakes, in control of our own destinies; that we as a species are the masters of the universe. That we consciously and rationally govern ourselves.
But this is simply not the case. In truth, it’s more accurate to view ourselves as we would any other animal. We are in essence a very bright and very social ape. A herd species.
Technology enables us to embrace our social nature, to collaborate in new ways in order to achieve incredible outcomes. It allows us to to use all the brains in the game.
Forming a Collaboracy
These same technologies and approaches can be used to revolutionise our political system; letting everyone propose and co-create policy and legislation. It can also facilitate the reviewing, discussion, and debating of this policy, enabling every citizen to to use their own vote on all local or national issues or leave it the hands of their elected representative.
This has two major benefits: firstly, it allows us to collaborate by co-creating policy and voting on policy – as demonstrated, something special happens when we collaborate at scale. Secondly, it would remove power away from the corporations and their billionaire owners, ensuring the decisions made are in the interest of people and the planet, not the pockets of the richest few.
You can’t solve todays problems using yesterdays solutions. Act now by signing the petition