4.6 The stars of the interdependent economy: you and me!


    “Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) dominate the European Union’s economy, make up 99 percent of businesses, provide two-thirds of private sector jobs, and create most new jobs.”
    – From A Green Knowledge Society, a report written for the European Union by the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, Government Offices of Sweden.

    The most important players in the interdependent economy are no longer large organizations, but increasingly, small- to medium-sized enterprises, complemented by an army of independent professionals. And, if the attention is turned to social issues, the civilian will have a large role to play. We’re talking about a new generation of people who consider virtual social communication to be normal, and find sharing even more of a common good; use of the Internet is common practice to them. The collapse, or even the disappearance, of large traditional organizational entities (as in the present transition happening all over the place) will accelerate this process.

    “In this changing ecosystem, collaborative partnerships between big and small firms will be
    on the rise. Small firms will contribute innovative practices with market agility and customer knowledge that big firms can’t easily achieve. Big firms will offer small businesses marketing and distribution power, enabling them to penetrate broader markets more effectively. Small businesses will proliferate in response to increasing niche market opportunities. Large firms will consolidate and get even bigger to compete more effectively in the global economy. The Web and mobile technologies will become the great equalizer of big and small, with customers no longer knowing – or even caring – about the size of the firm that provides their goods and service.” – The 2020 Intuit Report.

    The real power will therefore shift to the consumer, or the Society30 citizen. As it happens, they organize themselves. They want to participate. They want to engage with suppliers. Prosumers want to co-create in order to develop customized products and services of impeccable quality. Transparency, accountability, and authenticity are their core values. The Internet makes these affairs transparent. The prosumer is more educated than ever on what is for sale at what price. The prosumer knows exactly how your organization interprets its social role and responsibility. The prosumer has a whole range of alternative suppliers that can be tapped, provided by his or her social network. The prosumer wants to choose, can choose, and will choose.

    We protect our neighborhood, because photographs and movies made with our phones make up the eyes and ears of the judiciary. In, February, 2011, the car of our colleague, Vincent, was stolen. The police have “no time” to file a report. Vincent mobilizes his, then impressively-sized, 700-person-strong Twitter network. These 700 people started retweeting his messages. We determined, using analytic software, that his appeal reached over 80,000 people. Within 14 hours, the car was found, and was returned…positive news!

    However, there is always a downside: on the site Spotsquad, people are rewarded for reporting parking violations. Is this a revival of The Lives of Others, a movie about the monitoring of East Berlin civilians by the Stasi, the GDR’s secret police, with the (forced) help of other civilians?

    Our current politicians and business community have sparsely discovered this force of the organized masses, which I call crowdforcing. The Move Your Money campaign created by the news website The Huffington Post and other influencers mobilized nearly 10 million Americans to switch from a large bank to a small, local bank. Crowdforcing has certainly played an important role during the Arab Spring. Time and time again, social media proves that it can make the individual more powerful than ever before.

    This is all that concerns the turning point in my book. I have handed you my Glasses3.0. I invite you to look through them together, to look at our living environment, our work, our money, our democracy, our educational system, and our healthcare system. Let us all determine what can be improved and what has a little resemblance to 3.0 in these areas; and let’s continue to develop from here on. In part three of this book, we will have a closer look at the Organization3.0 itself.

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