Networks. The New Power

31 Jan 2017

We witness shifts in power daily and sometimes through surges that take us by surprise – Brexit, Trump. A narrow view is to put the change down to the impact of technology. But this is about New Power.

The New Power is about networks. They come with a set of values and beliefs. At its core are 2 key elements – that we all have a right to actively shape every part of our lives, and participation. – the participation of many. The goal is to communicate and distribute – to channel. The heroes are those who create / build their own / do it themselves.

Transparency, sharing, collaborating…

Where old power might be described as command and control leadership, secrecy, do as I say, the power of a few. New Power is about transparency, sharing, crowdfunding, collaboration and uses people’s growing capacity to participate.

Technology underpins many new power models, but having a Facebook page or regularly reaching out through Twitter isn’t the same as having a new power strategy. You have to set out to intentionally build engagement and a community.

Old power organisations will need to think differently about how they reach out to the community. Where they have had a strategy with minimal participation it will be important to focus strategy and tactics outward on how to reach out, rally and encourage participation.

For government, an old power with deeply entrenched rules and procedures and polls that indicate decreasing levels of trust in government, the question is, will new power do more than change its short term dynamics.

It may be that the model becomes a blend of old and new power.

References: Understanding New Power by Jeremy Heimas and Henry Timms, HBR; The Seventh Sense, Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks – Joshua Cooper Ramo