Shift Happens


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A talk to the folks at Africa Gathering on why African entrepreneurs must adopt new models of ownership and organisation to be successful and sustainable

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Shift Happens

  1. 1. The Biggest Story of the 21 st Century Different organisational models are more important than technology – or shift happens Leon Benjamin
  2. 2. The Biggest Story of the 21 st Century? <ul><li>The end of command and control </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Massive advances in technology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Prosperity to millions </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>But at what cost to humanity, equality , society and the environment? </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Anglo-Saxon model has outlived its ‘usefulness’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Network organisation as the model of choice </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>There is a spectre haunting the world. The spectre of peer-to-peer </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Open source production </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborative capitalism * not * managerial capitalism </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The future is about less </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Africa’s response </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Almost exclusively in the hands of entrepreneurs </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ The antibodies”. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. What do these need to survive? <ul><li>Orders </li></ul><ul><li>Order </li></ul><ul><li>Stability </li></ul><ul><li>Continuity </li></ul><ul><li>Rules </li></ul><ul><li>Fear </li></ul><ul><li>Withholding Information </li></ul><ul><li>Measurement </li></ul><ul><li>Incentives </li></ul><ul><li>Competition </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Cost of Command & Control <ul><li>Modern Ways Open India’s Doors to Diabetes </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Got the cash but it comes with ‘issues’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Western diet/lifestyle </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>35m type 2 diabetics. 75m by 2030 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Work Rage </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>France Telecom’s suicide rate </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>21 since Feb 2008 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One more last week despite ‘interventions’ </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2.6m people in Britain on incapacity benefits </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Over 60% there courtesy of workplace stress </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Inequality </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>USA 1950, CEO earns on average 40 X lowest paid worker </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In 2009, CEO earns on average 4,000 X lowest paid worker </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frequently as high as 200,000 X </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>47m Americans without health insurance </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In the UK poverty is almost at pre-war levels </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Environment </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Story of Stuff, An Inconvenient Truth, etc, etc </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>The West: Signs of cracking? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>US infant mortality, UK & US drop to 17 th & 19 th (out of 19) on preventable deaths </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>30m Americans on ‘low food security’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Education disparity </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. What do these need to survive? <ul><li>Everyone is a leader </li></ul><ul><li>Everyone sensing, responding, </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Trust </li></ul><ul><li>Peers </li></ul><ul><li>Agile </li></ul><ul><li>Adaptable </li></ul><ul><li>Self-organising </li></ul>
  6. 6. The Value of Peer-to-Peer Production <ul><li>Open Source Software </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay could not exist without Open Source technology </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Linux & Coase’s Penguin </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>P2P lending </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Grameen bank, Kiva, Zopa...many others </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Prosperity without growth </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Steady state economies </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fractional work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Creative commons </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Crowdsourcing is solving some of the world's intractable problems </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>NASA Clickworkers </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Open democracy </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The future of a country depends less on the nature of its issues, and more on its capacity to create social structures able to solve them </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. A Guide for Entrepreneurs <ul><li>Think differently about ownership structures </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Visa – A Chaordic Model </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ Complex rules and procedures lead to simple and stupid behaviour. Simple rules and regulations lead to intelligent and complex behaviour” – Dee Hock </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ricardo Semler’s employee contract at Semco </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The 7 day weekend & work/life balance </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Think differently about labour models </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Fractional work </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The unit of work is no longer a whole job </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The future is about less </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Progress will be based on being rather than having </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rate of change </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.” - R. D. Laing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Antibodies <ul><li>That’s what we should be looking for, antibodies ; some peaceful idea that binds us.......because we can all agree that this King of the Mountain shit has got to go; a lucky few get to spend a bit of time on top, but everybody spends most of their existence getting pissed on from a great height. So why do we continue doing it? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ubuntu </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ I am because we are” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In companies, leaders get their power from the top </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In networks, leaders get their power from the bottom </li></ul></ul></ul>