Notes

What New Power Looks Like

Notes from Jeremy Heimans’s talk, TEDSalon, June 2014 (in TEDTalks Business podcast)

[Heimans is a self-described “movement builder.”]

Indian activist Anna Hazare fought corruption by inviting the public to give him a miss call. He collected 35 million phone numbers and was able to mobilize 100,000 to protest in Delhi.

What is new power? It’s the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination to create change and shift outcomes.

Consider occupy politics, Airbnb, Kickstarter. There is commonality in these systems.

Old power New power
Currency Current
Held by few Made by many
Downloads Uploads
Commands Shares
Leader-driven Peer-driven
Closed Open

What new power isn’t. Not your Facebook page. New power isn’t inherently positive. New power isn’t the inevitable victor.

We’re at the beginning of a steep curve. Garage ideas are disrupting industries. New power feeds on itself. This gives rise to a new set of values:

New Power Values

  • Transparency
  • Do-it-ourselves
  • Networked governance
  • Participation
  • Speed
  • Collaboration
  • More affiliative
  • Fickle

If you’re old power… occupy yourself (before others do). Ask yourself the hard questions: if others could see inside your organization, would they like what they see?

If you’re new power… learn how to use institutional power without being institutionalized. Don’t be an island; turn your energy and power to public goods problems.