As an extension and complement to earlier posts on Strategy and the Edge Economy, Umair Haque – a Harvard Discussion Leader and Director of Havas Media Lab – adds a "Manifesto for the next Industrial Revolution"
"The real problem is that the industrial economy is riddled with incentives to rip your head off, sell you lemons, maximize so-called “profit” at all costs, and exert power against you – not for you. That’s why it seems that pain, suffering, and value destruction are deeply embedded in the very DNA of our rusting, industrial-era economic system itself.
And that means that though technology is necessary, it’s not sufficient. What’s harder – and what truly unlocks new value – is new DNA. The fundamental question new DNA must answer is this: how do we organize and manage resources so they’re not depleted, crushed, strip-mined, and slashed-and-burned?
It is players who can answer that question – players who can renew yesterday’s rusting DNA – who will be able redraw the boundaries of value creation in the 21st century.
Organize something. Why does Google insist that it’s goal is to “organize the world’s information”? Because it’s figured out one of the deepest secrets hidden at the heart of 21st century economics: markets, networks, and communities can organize economic activities radically more efficiently than firms.
How do we begin reorganizing the industrial economy? By using markets, networks, and communities to alter the way resources are managed: to weave a fabric of incentives for sustainable growth and authentic value creation into the economy – a new economic fabric that’s meaningful to people.
Google utilized a market – AdWords – to utterly eviscerate a stale, broken media value chain. Here's a more visceral example. Muhammad Yunus revolutionized finance – not by collecting more money to lend, but by using communities to fundamentally alter the value equation of lending to the poor. The result was industry transformation.
See the similarity? Two vastly different industries – finance and media – were both revolutionized by new DNA. It was new ways to organize and manage that exploded the boundaries of value creation.
The revolution needs revolutionaries. Today’s investors, boardrooms and entrepreneurs are looking for value in all the wrong places. Facebook's game of musical chairs won't solve big economic problems – and neither will making token investments in greentech.
Where is the next industrial revolution crying out for revolutionaries? Simple: in industries dominated by clear, durable, structural barriers to efficiency and productivity.