For a good few weeks I had on my pending to-do list that action item of watching, I was told, one of of the most inspiring and thought-provoking TED Talks in recent times that would certainly not leave you indifferent for a long while. Yes, I was advised that it was that good. And I must admit that, after having just finished going through it in its entirety, having noticed as well how it’s been all over the place in the social streams out there, I wasn’t disappointed at all, on the contrary. Mind-boggling would fall short by far in describing how good it is. I would even go one step further and state that the Hippie 2.0 movement is alive and kicking. And I am, for sure, very grateful about that! More than anything else because of a single key concept that permeates throughout the TED Talk and which I have been advocating for a long while as one of the biggest advantages of making use of social technologies, whether for work or for personal use: Openness.
Indeed, I am talking about the recent TED Talk from Don Tapscott under the suggestive title “Four Principles for the Open World“, which lasts for nearly 18 minutes, and which talks quite a bit around some of the major key themes from social networking for business that have become some of my favourite topics as of late in the realm of Social Business: Openness and Collaboration in new, more powerful ways.
Indeed, in that rather inspirational presentation Don brings up lots of wonderful insights and powerful messages around digital natives and digital immigrants, and our growing sense of no fear of technology which will certainly help inspire a good number of open interactions that perhaps in the recent past were not taking place. Now, I never bought personally into the whole argument behind digital natives and immigrants since I have always thought it was all about working styles and how you, as a business, could help accommodate accordingly, for those various different generations getting work done. Together. As a network, or as a community, interacting and collaborating with one another. But nevertheless his perspective is quite an interesting one, for sure!
What’s really fascinating though about Don’s TED Talk is how, over the course of nearly 18 minutes, he gets to talk about 4 core principles from social networking for business that would resonate, quite strongly, not only within the business world, but also within each and everyone of our societies, within each and everyone of us as human beings, and this is essentially what makes this presentation just delightful, but equally inspiring.
Don’t worry, once again, I am not going to spoil the fun and share with you folks a summary of what Don talked about throughout that time. I would rather encourage you all though to go through it and watch it, but you probably will need to be ready to experience shivers going through up your spine, because I can surely guarantee you that you will have plenty of them! So without much further ado, here’s the embedded code of the Talk so you can start watching it right away:
Not too bad for a Friday afternoon, don’t you think? Actually, not too bad for whatever time in the week you go ahead and watch through it. Absolutely brilliant stuff, to say the least! Now, as you can see from his pitch he gets to talk about 4 different core principles that are influencing rather strongly, not only the business world, but also our societies for that matter. And if there is anything that I have enjoyed the most from watching the video clip is the fact that, right there, you probably have got some of the most compelling reasons as to why we have passed, a long time ago, the point of no-return with regards to social technologies and how they are impacting the world.
Thus I thought that to close off this blog post I would focus on quoting those 4 key principles and what I learned about them, as I watched Don go through his presentation. Basically, my own take as I feel you may be wondering what I think about each of those key principles, specially, in the context of Hippie 2.0, right? Now, the funny thing is that if you have been reading this blog for a while you would notice how this is not the first time that I have talked about each and everyone of those principles, so it would be interesting to see how Don’s pitch has changed my overall perception of those key themes. Let’s go! Let’s do it!
Here they are … The Four Princples for the Open World:
- Collaboration: Essentially, we are consciously evolving into a new business world, as well as a society, where there are no longer any boundaries in / throughout organizations, where the firewall (Even our very own personal one!) is soon going to become extinct and where hiding behind it is going to continue being frown upon as you would have something to hide, therefore not becoming trustworthy enough, which we all know of is not good for business.
Talent is no longer inside of your organisation, but also outside, and, in fact, ALL OVER the place! So why neglect it or ignore it any longer when we are all starting to understand how the most powerful component of collaboration is that concept of co-creation? With your customers, clients, business partners, even with your own competitors. Remember? Social media, and social technologies for that matter, are all about social production where the main benefit is no longer on creating private value alone, but on creating a public one that will benefit everyone as part of that entire ecosystem. That’s why collaboration, specially, virtual collaboration through social networking tools is becoming so critical nowadays in a world that’s now more distributed and virtual than ever before. Still think your organisation could live by without breathing a collaborative corporate culture? Hummm, I don’t think so. Maybe 10 years ago that was possible, but definitely not today. And, most definitely, not tomorrow!
- Transparency: This is a big one. A huge one, actually. Indeed, as Don mentioned institutions and organisations are getting naked, whether they like it or not. It’s no longer about providing good value and good products, but about having core values. Values that the entire organisation can live by every single day. Values that, without them, you won’t be able to build trust. And we all know how critical trust is in today’s day and age where without it we can no longer get work done. Do you still work the closest with people who you do not trust much? … I doubt it. And rightly so!
I truly loved a particular quote that Don mentioned on this part of his speech and which are true words to live by in the Era of Transparency: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, and we need a lot of sunlight on this troubled world” (Somehow, it reminded me of wearing sunscreen, basically, be prepared before you go naked remembering who you are, what you do, what core business values you have and live them. Walk the talk…)
- Sharing: This is probably one of the toughest to comply with, embrace and live through principles that Don talked about. Specially, in the business world. He basically talked about giving up on your (business) assets, your intellectual property. Think beyond the personal private business benefit into the more general, public one. The social good. Indeed, the original definition for Social Business. Failure to do so will represent a massive problem and a huge challenge not just for that business, but also for the overall humanity. And his account of what’s happening with the music industry as one of the worst examples of not being open to sharing, along with the pharmaceutical industry, are just mind-blowing, not only because of the impact upon themselves, but because of the overall impact in our society, specially, in the latter case, where, if they would want to survive themselves, and all of us, for that matter, they would need to share their assets in the commons before it is too late, looking out for that social good, which in this case would relate to giving up those assets for the well being of humanity. Some pretty serious stuff that would unfold in 12 months, according to Don. 12 months and the clock is ticking …
- Empowerment: And, finally, one of my favourite principles: Empowerment, which, in a certain way, would be pretty much related as well to Engagement, which has been one of my preferred topics to talk about lately, specially, after my last blog post on the topic. Don comments how both knowledge and intelligence are power, and how as they start to become more distributed thanks to the extensive use of social networking tools, (Yes, where “knowledge shared is power”) it will bring up something that it still amazes me that we are in 2012 and we don’t see enough of it all over the place: Freedom. And in all senses of the word. Very powerful messages in here from him for sure on how networks and communities, the good old wirearchy we are all already pretty familiar with, will be driving the emergence of that freedom in everything that we do, collaborate on, share across and participate in. Essentially, help us redefine not only how we do business, how we get work done, but also how we live as a society. Yes, I know what’s going through your mind at the moment as you read through these words… Hippie 2.0 overload!! Oh, yes, I know! I love it, too! And about time, don’t you think?
From there onwards, Don takes us all towards the end of an amazing presentation with a delightful and very beautiful trip down the memory lane of us, human beings, as a culture, as a civilization, and over the course of centuries by stating what openness meant for all of us in each of the various different stages, and which we may have forgotten already: The Agrarian Age, the Industrial Age, and what he calls the Age of Networked Intelligence. The latter being of vast promise. The new power of the Commons, the one for which we no longer can see the point of no return. The one from which we just can’t go back, nor get off the train. Far too immersed on it.
And this is the point when beauty and an unprecedented sense of wonderment got on stage, because right then Don talked about the whole concept of “There is Leadership, but not one leader” as he showed the absolutely stunning example of immense flocks of starlings, up in Scotland, preparing to roost at dusk, which is probably one of the most beautiful reminders of the true power of nature that we have got the privilege to witness and enjoy every single day that goes by:
Yes, indeed, there is leadership, but not one leader. Nowadays, more than ever, there is a strong, growing, real sense of interdependence, amongst all of us, whether doing work together, or whether we all are part of a single unique society, us, human beings, where we are also finally coming to terms with a key message that we just cannot ignore anymore in today’s financial econoclypse: “Business can’t succeed in a world that’s failing“… Think about the kids of today, i.e. your kids, and think where you would want them to be tomorrow. Couldn’t we create some kind of collective intelligence, that we share together, creating that global awareness and consciousness that would help build a much better, sustainable, generous, respectful, caring, transparent, collaborative, sharing and empowered world for them? Think of it, what will be the legacy we will leave them with that they will talk about in say 30 to 50 years from now? Today’s world, or tomorrow’s networked, interconnected, brilliant future?
Our choice to make. Not theirs.