18.2 Conclusion: network value creation

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    Collaborative prosumption in the Sharing Economy means when we create economic value in the Interdependent Economy, we are moving automatically away from the traditional value chain toward value networks (Allee, 2008; Benkler, 2006).
    There is no particular fixed connection between network members in a value network; the network is not always visible as a group. Generally, a value network has a few core members – including a potential client – complemented with “occasional-collaborators” and some other people who contribute incidentally and/or if required (resonance). The core workers often do not know the marginal participants, while the source of knowledge is not always visible either; it is more of a cloud.

    Value networks like this – I like to call these Social Economic Entities– almost exhibit Al Qaida-like structures and movements (van den Hoff, 2011). Teamwork is a great concept, but working in a value network goes beyond the old team philosophy. It already starts with a different understanding of objectives. In traditional team-based organizations, the targeted goals are usually clearly defined, as is the road that reaches it, such as the allocation of tasks and responsibility. A value network is mainly characterized by shared points of view and a path of creation that is mutually discovered in a context of collective responsibility. In the collaboration as a Crowd Company with or within organizations, the community leader facilitates the process as much as possible, but you cannot call this managing. There is an open structure: for new knowledge and contacts, one can make an appeal to the entire outside world. The same goes for the capturing and making of the acquired knowledge by the value network available. The old “team thinking” is disposed to keeping this within their walls, but value creation is, of course, best served by open connections.

    For “customers” it is therefore not always clear who bears the final responsibility for value creation, while it is not always clear to the network members how revenues will be shared or how copyright issues are dealt with. Within these entities, arrangements can provide insight for all stakeholders, including the final client. Whereas regular organizational teams or departments tend to mark their territories and build ivory towers, value networks have the ability to connect to each other. Individual members of value networks can organize themselves from one spot. In part, this increases the data portability between networks on a daily basis. This is how boundaries continue to dissolve: Value networks are extraordinarily dynamic and flow into each other. That is why it is so difficult for outsiders to understand: It is not always an obviously recognizable team or project group that is on the job. The work is also no longer done between four walls under a single roof, with the name of the organization on the façade of the building. The places where new value creation takes place are hard to identify… they can be found in what I like to call The Mesh, THE network of networks. Mesh networks can be described as a network system of nodes where each node must not only capture and disseminate its own data, but also serve as a relay for other nodes. That is, it must collaborate to propagate the data in the network (“Mesh networking,” n.d.).

    Society30 organizations are innovative, resilient network organizations within their own Mesh. They will grow towards so-called real time companies: network organizations with permanently connected stakeholders, where informal and formal relationships flourish. The Internet and other (mobile) technologies are optimally used to create value and are continuously working on facilitating the collaboration process. The network stakeholders are convinced of the fact that thinking in terms of relevancy and reliability can maximize interconnectivity. Organizations that are able to put this into practice can look forward to a successful right to exist, whereby working innovatively and creatively with, and in the interests of stakeholders, a meaningful product or service of actual value is created. This is what I like to call Organization30: a sustainable organizational ecosystem where people can be proud of the stakeholder value that is being created. Obviously, this Organization30 has a “somewhat different design” than we have been used to. And, in building it, there is a big role for our knowmads.

    Stakeholders of the Organization30 want to be increasingly involved with the realization of services or products. This contributes to that “special” user experience. Every experience from incidental co-creation to a full collaboration enhances the feeling that it is all about you, and, as an additional advantage, delivering a much more superior product or service. So much better, in fact, that the eventual sticker price, whether that be monetary or social capital, has become secondary as a selection criteria for doing business, procurement, and collaboration. In order to give the stakeholders that feeling of authenticity, and in order to co-create with them, the organization has to connect with them and start a dialogue. To gain access to a whole network of stakeholders, the modern decisive organization can do itself a favor by developing a solid social media strategy. The starting point is that all communication moments (so called touch points) are linked directly between a stakeholder and the person within the Organization30 who is directly responsible for that part of the service or product. This requires dynamic and flexible internal processes and a large extent of operational freedom for the people involved.

    Through the network of inter-human contact, a permanent connectivity comes into being between the organization, its people, and its other stakeholders. This social exchange of information and knowledge leads to collaboration and eventually results in “doing business” with each other in value networks.
    So, the most important value creation players in the Interdependent Economy, who are no longer large organizations, but increasingly small to medium sized networked enterprises, are complemented by an army of independent professionals – knowmads (Moravec, 2008). We’re talking about a new generation of people who consider virtual social communication to be normal and find sharing generative for the common good; and, they find the use of the Internet common practice. The collapse or even the disappearance of large traditional organizational entities will accelerate this process.

    The number of knowmads is growing fast. In 2002, in the United States alone, there were already over 33 million free agents, another term for knowmads, about one in four American workers (Pink, 2002).
    In The Netherlands, we see the same picture: over one million traditional employees will retire in the coming 5 years, a process that started in 2010. They will be replaced by a staggering number of knowmads. In 2020, we estimate this Dutch group to be larger than 2.5 million people, representing 40% (!) of the total workforce.
    The Organization30 is forced to collaborate with knowmads in the process of survival by new value creation since there are not enough regular employees left.

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