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  • So uh, so this is Anna Hazare,

  • and Anna Hazare may well be the most cutting-edge digital activist in the world today.

  • And you wouldn’t know it by looking at him.

  • Hazare is a 77-year-old Indian anticorruption and social justice activist.

  • And in 2011, he was running a big campaign to address everyday corruption in India,

  • a topic that Indian elites love to ignore.

  • So as part of this campaign,

  • he was using all of the traditional tactics that a good Gandhian organizer would use.

  • So he was on a hunger strike,

  • and Hazare realized through his hunger that actually maybe this time,

  • in the 21st century, a hunger strike wouldn’t be enough.

  • So he started playing around with mobile activism.

  • So the first thing he did is he said to people,

  • Okay, why don’t you send me a text message

  • if you support my campaign against corruption?”

  • So he does this, he gives people a short code,

  • and about 80,000 people do it.

  • Okay, that’s pretty respectable.

  • But then he decides, “Let me tweak my tactics a little bit.”

  • He says, “Why don’t you leave me a missed call?”

  • Now, for those of you who have lived in the global South,

  • youll know that missed calls are a really critical part of global mobile culture.

  • I see people nodding.

  • People leave missed calls all the time.

  • If youre running late for a meeting and you just want to let them know

  • that youre on the way, you leave them a missed call.

  • If youre dating someone and you just want to say “I miss youyou leave them a missed call.

  • So a note for a dating tip here,

  • in some cultures, if you want to please your lover,

  • you call them and hang up.

  • So why do people leave missed calls?

  • Well, the reason of course is that

  • theyre trying to avoid charges associated with making calls and sending texts.

  • So when Hazare asked people to leave him a missed call,

  • um you know, let’s have a little guess how many people actually did this?

  • Thirty-five million.

  • So this is one of the largest coordinated actions in human history.

  • It’s remarkable.

  • And this reflects the extraordinary strength of the emerging Indian middle class

  • and the power that their mobile phones bring.

  • But he used that, Hazare ended up with this massive CSV file of mobile phone numbers,

  • and he used that to deploy real people power on the ground

  • to get hundreds of thousands of people out on the streets in Delhi

  • to make a national point of everyday corruption in India.

  • It’s a really striking story.

  • So this is me when I was 12 years old.

  • I hope you see the resemblance.

  • And I was also an activist, and I have been an activist all my life.

  • I had this really funny childhood where I traipsed around the world meeting world leaders and Nobel prize winners,

  • talking about Third World debt, as it was then called, and demilitarization.

  • I was a very, very serious child.

  • And back then, in the early 90s,

  • I had a very cutting-edge tech tool of my own, the fax.

  • And the fax was the tool of my activism.

  • And at that time, it was the best way to get a message to a lot of people all at once.

  • And so I’ll give you one example of a fax campaign that I ran.

  • It was the eve of the Gulf War and I organized a global campaign to flood the hotel, the Intercontinental in Geneva,

  • where James Baker and Tariq Aziz were meeting on the eve of the war,

  • and I thought if I could flood them with faxes, well stop the war.

  • Well, unsurprisingly, that campaign was wholly unsuccessful.

  • You know and there are lots of reasons for that,

  • but there’s no doubt that one sputtering fax machine in Geneva was a little bit of a bandwidth constraint

  • in terms of the ability to get a message to lots of people.

  • And so, you know, I went on to discover some better tools.

  • I cofounded Avaaz, which uses the internet to mobilize people

  • and now has almost 40 million members,

  • And I now run Purpose,

  • which is a home for these kinds of technology-powered movements.

  • So, so what’s the moral of this story?

  • Is the moral of this story, you know what, the fax is kind of eclipsed by the mobile phone?

  • This is another story of tech-determinism?

  • Well, I would argue that there’s actually more to it than that.

  • I’d argue that in the last 20 years, something more fundamental has changed than just new tech.

  • I would argue that there has been a fundamental shift in the balance of power in the world.

  • You ask any activist how to understand the world, and theyll say,

  • Look at where the power is, who has it, how it’s shifting.”

  • And I think we all sense that something big is happening.

  • So Henry Timms and I,

  • Henry’s a fellow movement builder,

  • got talking one day and we started to think,

  • how can we make sense of this new world?

  • How can we describe it and give it a framework that makes it more useful,

  • because we realized that many of the lessons that we were discovering in movements

  • actually applied all over the world in many sectors of our society.

  • So I want to introduce you to this framework:

  • Old power, meet new power.

  • And I want to talk to you about what new power is today.

  • New power is the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination,

  • these are the two key elements,

  • to create change and shift outcomes.

  • And we see new power all around us.

  • This is Beppe Grillo. He was a populist Italian blogger who,

  • with a minimal political apparatus and only some online tools,

  • won more than 25 percent of the vote in recent Italian elections.

  • This is Airbnb, which in just a few years has radically disrupted the hotel industry

  • without owning a single square foot of real estate.

  • This is Kickstarter, which we know has raised over a billion dollars from more than five million people.

  • Now, were familiar with all of these models.

  • But what’s striking is the commonalities,

  • the structural features of these new models and how they differ from old power.

  • Let’s look a little bit at this.

  • Old power is held like a currency.

  • New power works like a current.

  • Old power is held by a few.

  • New power isn’t held by a few, it’s made by many.

  • Old power is all about download, and new power uploads.

  • And you see a whole set of characteristics that you can trace,

  • whether it’s in media or politics or education.

  • So weve talked a little bit about what new power is.

  • Let’s, for a second, talk about what new power isn’t.

  • New power is not your Facebook page.

  • I assure you that having a social media strategy can enable you to do just as much download

  • as you used to do when you had the radio.

  • Just ask Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad,

  • I assure you that his Facebook page has not embraced the power of participation.

  • New power is not inherently positive.

  • In fact, this isn’t a normative argument that were making,

  • there are many good things about new power, but it can produce bad outcomes.

  • More participation, more peer coordination, sometimes distorts outcomes

  • and there are some things, like things, for example, in the medical profession

  • that we want new power to get nowhere near.

  • And thirdly, new power is not the inevitable victor.

  • In fact, unsurprisingly, as many of these new power models get to scale,

  • what you see is this massive pushback from the forces of old power.

  • Just look at this really interesting epic struggle going on right now

  • between Edward Snowden and the NSA.

  • Youll note that only one of the two people on this slide is currently in exile.

  • And so, it’s not at all clear that new power will be the inevitable victor.

  • That said, keep one thing in mind:

  • Were at the beginning of a very steep curve.

  • So you think about some of these new power models, right?

  • These were just like someone’s, like, garage idea a few years ago,

  • and now theyre, like you know, disrupting entire industries.

  • And so, what’s interesting about new power is the way it feeds on itself.

  • Once you have an experience of new power, you tend to expect and want more of it.

  • So let’s say youve used a peer-to-peer lending platform like Lending Tree or Prosper,

  • then youve figured out that you don’t need the bank,

  • and who wants the bank, right?

  • And so, that experience tends to embolden you.

  • It tends to make you want more participation across more aspects of your life.

  • And what this gives rise to is a set of values.

  • Weve talked about the models that new power has engendered, the Airbnbs, the Kickstarters.

  • What about the values?

  • And this is an early sketch at what new power values look like.

  • New power values prize transparency above all else.

  • It’s almost a religious belief in transparency,

  • a belief that if you shine a light on something, it will be better.

  • And remember that in the 20th century, this is not at all true.

  • People thought that gentlemen should sit behind closed doors and make comfortable agreements.

  • New power values of informal, networked governance.

  • New power folks would never have invented the U.N. today, for better or worse.

  • New power values participation, and new power is all about do-it-yourself.

  • In fact, what’s interesting about new power is that

  • it eschews some of the professionalization and specialization

  • that was all the rage in the 20th century.

  • So what’s interesting about these new power values and these new power models

  • is what they mean for organizations.

  • So weve spent a bit of time thinking,

  • okay how can we plot organizations on a two-by-two where, essentially,

  • we look at new power values and new power models and see where different people sit?

  • We started with a U.S. analysis, and let me show you some interesting findings.

  • So the first is Apple.

  • In this framework, we actually described Apple an old power company.

  • That’s because the ideology, the governing ideology of Apple is

  • the ideology of the perfectionist product designer in Cupertino.

  • It’s absolutely about hat beautiful, perfect thing descending upon us in perfection.

  • And it does not value, as a company, transparency.

  • In fact, it’s very secretive.

  • Now, Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world.

  • So this shows that you can still pursue a successful old power strategy.

  • But one can argue that there’s real vulnerabilities in that model.

  • I think another interesting comparison is that of the Obama campaign versus the Obama presidency.

  • Now, I like President Obama, he ran with new power at his back, right?

  • And he said to people, we are the ones weve been waiting for.

  • And he used crowdfunding to power a campaign.

  • But when he got into office, he governed like more or less all the other presidents did.

  • And this is a really interesting trend, is when new power gets powerful, what happens?

  • So this is a framework you should look at and think about where your own organization sits on it.

  • And think about where it should be in 5 or 10 years.

  • So what do you do if youre old power?

  • Well, if youre there thinking, in old power, you know hwat, this won’t happen to us.

  • Then just look at the Wikipedia entry for Encyclopedia Britannica.

  • Let me tell you, it’s a very sad read.

  • But if you are old power, the most important thing you can do

  • is to occupy yourself before others occupy you, before you are occupied.

  • Imagine that a group of your biggest skeptics are camped in the heart of your organization asking the toughest questions

  • and they can see everything inside of your organization.

  • And ask them, would they like what they see and should our model change?

  • What about if youre new power?

  • Is new power just kind of riding the wave to glory?

  • I would argue no.

  • I would argue that there are some very real challenges to new power in this nascent phase.

  • Let’s stick with the Occupy Wall Street example for a moment.

  • Occupy was this incredible example of new power, the purest example of new power.

  • And yet, it failed to consolidate.

  • So the energy that it created was great for the meme phase,

  • but they were so committed to participation,

  • that they never got anything done.

  • And in fact that model means that the challenge for new power is:

  • How do you use institutional power without being institutionalized?

  • On the other end of the spectra is Uber.

  • Uber is an amazing, highly scalable new power model.

  • That network is getting denser and denser by the day.

  • But what’s really interesting about Uber is it hasn’t really adopted new power values.

  • This is a real quote from the Uber CEO recently.

  • He says, you know, “Once we get rid of that dude in the car,”

  • he means drivers,

  • Uber will be cheaper.”

  • Now, new power models live and die by the strength of their networks.

  • By whether the drivers and the consumers who use the service actually believe in it.

  • Because theyre not an exercise of top-down perfectionism,

  • they are about the network.

  • And so, the challenge, and this is why it’s in no way surprising that Uber’s drivers are now unionizing.

  • It’s extraordinary.

  • Uber’s drivers are turning on Uber.

  • And the challenge for Uber,

  • this isntan easy situation for them,.

  • is that they are locked into a broader superstructure that is really old power.

  • Theyve raised more than a billion dollars in the capital markets.

  • Those markets expect a financial return,

  • and the way you get a financial return is by squeezing and squeezing your users and your drivers

  • for more and more value and giving that value to your investors.

  • So the big question about the future of new power, in my view, is:

  • Will that old power just emerge?

  • So will new power elites just become old power and squeeze?

  • Or will that new power base bite back?

  • Will the next big Uber be co-owned by Uber drivers?

  • And I think this is going to be a very interesting structural question.

  • Finally, think about new power being more than just an entity that

  • scales things that make us have slightly better consumer experiences.

  • My call to action for new power is to not be an island.

  • We have major structural problems in the world today

  • that could benefit enormously from the kinds of mass participation and peer coordination

  • that these new power players know so well how to generate,

  • and we badly need them to turn their energies and their power to big,

  • what economists might call public goods problems,

  • that are often beyond markets where investors can easily be found.

  • And I think if we can do that,

  • we might be able to fundamentally change

  • not only human beingssense of their own agency and power,

  • because I think that’s the most wonderful thing about new power,

  • is that people feel more powerful,