Sunday, September 28, 2008

Power zones

So, I'm working on this book, and one of the main themes in it will be the idea of "power zones", where the old and the new paradigm is converging.
Our industrial culture is fading, and new ways of organizing and cooperating are becoming more relevant in order to thrive under today's and tomorrow's circumstances.
But it’s not a complete change. The old ways are still with us, and they are still useful in many contexts. What’s interesting to study is not so much the extreme cases of way new behaviours. Rather, it’s the areas where the old and the new overlap and converge that are most important. The zones in which there’s some of both.
I call them the power zones, because that’s where the action is.
They are dynamic. This is where you find fast growth and development, this is where the business model of the new economy are created, and this is where you can observe the demand for new skills and mindsets – and a need for new kinds of organization and cooperation.

So here are some of the power zones of convergence:

Consumers are not taking over the entire production, but increasingly they have a say in determining what gets created. They participate in the creation, they configure, contribute content, give feedback and spread the word to others... They interact with the producers – and vice versa - in order to get exactly the product or service they want in their current, personal context.
Producers who fail to involve and listen to their users are more at risk of commoditization; rather than competing by meeting individual demands, they can only differentiate their product on price.

There is still a place for expertise and professional skills and experience, but amateurs, who are passionate about their interest, are getting the tools to create to standards that used to be exclusive to professionals. Companies are finding that the greatest experts on their products are often the fans and users, rather than the employees.

Topdown/bottom up
Not a complete rejection of leadership and hierarchy but an increasing share of inputs and initiative come from the periphery rather than the center of the system. The network manages itself, but there is still a need for leadership and vision in order to align.

Competing, yes, but cooperating as well. Co-creating in order to establish a greater platform to do business on.

Not entirely altruistic, but conscious that in a connected world of tightening resources, the well being of the system is in the individuals’ own interest – and that any harm or defects to the system quickly translate into negative consequences for the individual.

Not a complete surrender to the collective, still motivated by personal goals and gains, but with an understanding of increasing interdependence and the value of cooperation. The circle of empathy, responsibility and accountability is widening, but there are clashes at the boundaries.

Not letting go of all secrets and possessions, but moving from a completely protected and closed mindset to one of reciprocal sharing – enabling rapid innovation and learning for the benefit of all players.

Not giving up all privacy, but finding a new balance where accountability to the system gives you better service and guards the majority against the excesses of the few.

Not gone entirely into a virtual world, but simultaneously present in both the virtual and physical reality. The experience of the local physical reality is augmented, but also distracted by a digital layer of information.

Physically present here, but communicating and acting with consequences elsewhere. And likewise, not just acting on what’s taking place here, but affected by information streams or events that are remotely controlled by others.

A merging of disciplines
Not giving up deep knowledge of a subject, but augmenting your understanding with insights from other fields – transferring systemic features, cross fertilizing disciplines. In many cases because the context and the problems that need to be solved are so complex that the solutions require knowledge from a range of disciplines.

1 comment:

Esben Fjord said...

Very interesting post. Looking forward to the book ;-)