Innotribe @Sibos 2011 – New Economies summary

14 Nov

With the New Economies session, Innotribe chose to explore what we call “the value track”. These are topics that are not technology related, and have nothing to do with SEPA, regultation, etc…
Actually, the common thread throughout these sessions turned out to be the re-invention of value

Greg Rader – Blogger, focusing on the influence of technology on economic behavior – introduced a model or a matrix of our economic behaviors. He obsserved that our economic behaviors tend to vary systematically, depending on the closeness of the relationship between two parties and the degree to which the values exchanged have been refined.
 – How to account for the value? who benefits? who profits?
 – For example: what is the exact value of my eBay reputation?
The way you would describe and express value depends on which economy you are in, and based on the level of trust (relatedness between producer and user, going from anonymous stranger to friends & family) and the level of refinement of the services provided (going from an unrefined, raw tweet to a highly customized refined consultancy report).

This results in 4 quadrants:
New Economies matrix

Today, obviously, the transactional economy prevails, but boundaries are blurring between work, life, and family. Thus, our economic behavior is shifting, and the boundaries between these four quadrants are starting to blur as well.

Reflecting on this matrix, Jerry Michalski revealed many more ways to define value: “abundance versus scarcity” for example, is a well known principle, mainly used in the Transaction Economy.
But not all value can be expressed in money, there are things money can’t buy, right? So, he left us with this fantastic quote:

“Wealth is what you have when you loose all your money” 

Building on that thought, Dan Robles – chief innovation office at social flights – said “all money is value but not all value is money” so we need to expand our awareness of what value is, far beyond what can be articulated by money. Dan said there is 4o trillion dollars of “intangible” value in social networks, it’s (just) a matter of making that value visible.
He said “we don’t know what we know”, there is a big omission of a knowledge inventory. What if we would allocate a quality and a quantity attribute to our pieces of information, our knowledge? That would define our knowledge as assets, and a whole Knowledge Economy could emerge! 

Doc Searls – Editor of the Linux Journal Co-author to the cluetrain manifesto – explained us his vision of the Intention Economy. He also refered to Clay Shirky’s book “Here comes everybody
The way companies treat their customers, even today, is appalling! They think they know you so well, they think they know your intentions. But they don’t!
This thinking pattern shows in the language they use, the way companies talk about their customers: “capture”, “lock in”, “own”, etc.. and is even amplified by, and over the internet.
Doc calls this the “Calf-Cow relationship”, where the customer is (over)dependant on the company. He pleads for a VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) that would put the customer back into the driver’s seat, actively managing his relations with various companies, and choosing which of his personal data is shared with which counterparty and to what purpose!

Art Brock – Meta currency project, designer of new targeted currencies – Talked about the secret DNA of markets and economies, the underlying dynamics out of which the Attention Economy, the Transaction Economy, etc.. emerge.  Art defined his work as “social engineering with incentives” using different ways of measuring and transacting new values, and making them visible (cfr. Dan Robles) and possible to interact around those values. With his alternative currencies Art intentionally aims to alter social dynamics. He sees currency as much more than money: currency is actually a flow of value, a description of what is valued, money is the symbol system of that value, and economy or markets the protocol for transacting those symbols.
For example if you want to change your Corporate Culture, your employee’s behavior will be affected by how you use intensives, how you measure performance,..  other examples are: resource sharing, loyalties programs, or even college degree as a reputation value.
Other, new models of wealth are necessary, and people are clambering for it, it’s bound to happen with banks or without…

Then Craig Burton – One of the fathers of the internet, founder of Novell – in his own remarkable style, made a clear statement: “baking your business model into an API is an economic imperative!” What that means is that you, as a company or a bank, need to figure out what the core competence of your business is, and make it accessible and programmatic to everybody else. Find out what it is exactly that you do, and then let others use that to their benefit. “What they do with it, is none of your business”, enter: the API economy
API = Application Programming Interface
(See also Antonio Benjamin’s announcement at the Future of Money session.)

The last, but certainly not the least speaker at this session was Umair Haque – author of New Capitalist Manifesto, Havas Media Lab – He was “Skype-ing” from Pakistan and explained us that he sees Pakistan as a Functional Economy, which is rather basic, and geared towards survival. But then, when he looked at India, he saw a different economy: the Aspirational Economy, where people aspire to be someone, or to have something; see what I own, see my status symbol, etc.. And that’s where we, western people are kind of stuck too.
Umair was pleading for a new kind of economy to emerge, a Meaningful Economy (or with a more difficult, Greek word: Eudaemonic Economy) which means living meaningfully well.
This implies that we change the way we measure and understand progress. Umair refered to China and India as countries who think about, or already measure non-economic variables.
Finally, upon Sean Park‘s question, Umair said that Western countries will have to revisit the way their GDP’s are being calculated, including some (if not all) of those non-economic variables that define or influence the progress of wealth at large in a country.

Have a look at the summary video:

Or view the full length video here (1h 17′)


One Response to “Innotribe @Sibos 2011 – New Economies summary”

  1. Dominik De Buyser 14/11/2011 at 16:57 #

    The last insight, the one from Umair Haque, reminded me of a book I read lately: the World Book of Happiness (by Leo Bormans). This book bundles 100 scientific studies on happiness around the world, these studies all acknowledge what we already knew: money is not the (only) thing that makes us happy. However, “living a meaningful life” does. The studies also demonstrate that living a meaningful life is a universal aim, and hardly defers between cultures, continents, or countries.
    Also, one of the parameters for happiness is ‘trust’. Do you trust your neighbours, your employees, your employer, your government?
    And what is the influence of government on the happiness of the people? It shows that the more laws and regulation there is, the less trust there is between the people and the government, thus decreasing the ‘happiness’.
    Anyway, the conclusion is that adding a “happiness” factor into the GDP calculations of countries, like Umair said, would definitely be a step forward.

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