Friday, January 21, 2011
What Does a 21st-Century Business Look Like?
Last week on Bubblegeneration, I wrote about the potential of the social web to empower, uplift and inspire, especially for companies and individuals who know how to harness the power of group behavior.
It sounds grand in theory, of course, but this week, I want to come down from the realm of ideas and take a closer look at the ways that Bolder, Kickstarter, Kiva, Edot (stands for "every day one thing") and many other companies are enacting real social change on the social web (not just blogging about it).
The missions and business models of these companies vary widely, but there are three main things that they all have in common:
In short, this is what a 21st-century business, one that’s based on mattering, not revenue, looks like. This is a big topic, and there’s lots more to discuss. Do you agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Please share your ideas in the comments.
- They depend on the social web. There’s nothing brick-and-mortar about these companies – they thrive on digital interactions. Without the ability to reach millions of people regardless of geography and time zone, the model just wouldn’t work.
- They challenge traditional relationships between institutions and individuals. Rather than stick to the traditional advertise/buy/sell model of most institutions, Bolder asks individuals and organizations to make a difference together. Kickstarter and Kiva both democratize the process of getting funding for artists and entrepreneurs. And Edot is founded on the simple, elegant premise that if everyone does just one thing to make the world better every day, then the world will actually get better.
- They ask users to take some kind of action for a higher purpose. This is a big one. Unlike most institutions, they don’t, indeed can’t exist purely to perpetuate themselves and their profits. They depend on their users to engage and help shape a vision of the greater good, and it’s the strength of that vision – much more than the strength of the balance sheet – that determines whether the business sinks or swims.
Robin Cangie writes about 21st-century prosperity, institutional transformation and whatever is on her mind at robinoula.com. Follow her on Twitter at @robinoula.
Agreed, look at my country: the Irish economy is not doing very well so what do:
One theory is based on the Smart economy, the recession appers to be offline while the online economy appears to be very strong.
We have also seen a rise in online entreprenure platforms similar to Kickstarter.com like http://ifund.ie