We help organizations work better. It’s not often however we get the opportunity to work with a blank page. In theory, a blank page should be a wondrous thing – no intertia, no existing culture, no change, just fresh thinking, fresh design, and fresh execution. I emphasise should be, although we are intent on creating something special so we’re hardly taking it easy.
The opportunity is too fascinating (and necessary) to pass up, even if it’s not a paying gig. Let me explain.
As I wrote in Attenzi (chapter 35), branding has come a long way since it originally meant burning one’s mark onto livestock to assert ownership. It’s even moving beyond its 20th Century function of quality (re)assurance. Whereas during the best part of the 20th Century quality was a differentiator, it is now a qualifier. The discerning customer can now look beyond the immediacy of the product or service they’re consuming. They can and do ask: “Do I like this company’s attitude towards the environment / sourcing / equal opportunities / etc.?” And: “What’s their wider contribution to society?”
In other words:
“Do I like their values?” and “Do they share my values?”
There’s plenty of stuff written about purpose-driven organization, but in this particular instance there’s a further dimension to take into account that could be viewed quite rationally as either a strength or potential weakness when it comes to this org’s future success: the purpose has to be felt so strongly as to encourage participation despite knowledge that perhaps you might benefit as a mere lurker, or as someone entirely ignorant of the organization.
This organization is about purposeful co-operation where the co-operation itself has to be sufficiently rewarding to warrant someone deciding to participate in the first place. It requires a shared belief in our making a difference … and while we can point to other ‘ROI’, it’s too far out to make tangible claim to it today without doing ourselves a disservice in ethical terms.
One more thing … just a little thing … it requires decentralized, large scale, largely volunteer, co-operative and holistic combination; org design challenges don’t come any bigger.
The Digital Life Collective is incorporating this month as a UK co-operative. We have 44 co-founding members spanning three continents, and a further five dozen or so associates. If you’re intrigued, if you are concerned about massive centralisation of the Internet and Web, if you’re anxious about mass commercial and state surveillance and digital exclusion, and ultimately if you want information technologies we can all trust, do visit the website and become a member. We need you, and the co-operative journey should prove almost as exciting and rewarding as the destination.
Co-operation requires trust. And creating ‘tech we trust’ requires co-operation.