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More people can say more things to more people than ever in history. And that is still growing enormously. The contemporary Internet and the tools that make it up give us an immense opportunity to reorganize almost any aspect of our own lives. So if you can create an encyclopaedia with a million people who’ve never met but the quality is just as good as Britannica... what else could you create? There is this possibility of using these tools to do massive things which is completely unexplored at the moment. And we can work together in ways that ask a deeper question about the role of government. Can we all govern? There’s a whole new model that’s emerging where we become part of the government. I think we’ve got the technology that any vote that’s in parliament could be offered to the entire country. This is a very profound change. I’m not talking about people lobbying or outside parties influencing government... I’m talking about... unbundling and reconstituting what is a government. The revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new tools... it happens when society adopts new behaviours. These tools have lowered the cost of doing things to the point where our desire to engage with one another is enough to get things now to happen at a very large social scale rather than just a sort of smaller family and friends scale. My name is Eric, I’m 19... and I’ve never been overseas. And I’m going to be staying with Couchsurfers. Every face I see is completely alien to me and I’m not really used to it. This urge that we have to socialise, to connect, to be recognised to have social status that plays out in these technologies a lot more easily than it could in the world of broadcast media or newspapers or mass communication in the 20th century sense of the term. Public services are going to need the change the way in which they see people. They’re going to need to find ways of tapping into people’s own resources. They’re going to need to find ways of connecting people to support one another in the way sites like Netmums do. It’s a message board basically. It can be a very lonely journey, parenting. It is all about the loss of the community, I think. So to try and get that community spirit that would’ve been there so much so many years ago we have to find some other way of doing that and Mumsnet is the best way of doing that, I think. Mumsnet builds on what mums have always done... in playgrounds, in parks, in groups... but just takes that to a whole different level. I think it’s a very impressive example of the way that the web can create large communities of informal knowledge and systematise that and make it very useful. And so the question you have to ask yourself given how active the users are, is: is Couchsurfing a small organisation because it's got seven formal employes or is it a huge organization because it has this enormous number of collaborators. It's the same for Wikipedia It’s the same question for Flickr It’s the same question for Youtube... I’m going to be meeting my Couchsurfing host, Alain. I’ve never met him before except online. He’ll be hosting me for 2 nights. There’s a lot of unknowns... The old model of social trust in anointed experts is only one of many, many patterns in which society can both exhibit trust and gain value from those relationships, And we are seeing the other patterns reestablish themselves. At the moment I’m on my way to go and meet four people who I’ve never met before apart from online. All Mumsnet posters. I don’t really know much about them, apart from...they’ve all got babies. What we’re actually beginning to see is people putting their faith in a different kind of professionalism. The amount of times you read threads about health visitors or some other health care professional that's given absolutely ridiculous advice! They undermine your own confidence and I think that’s what Mumsnet gives you back. They can trust the mothers they meet on Mumsnet, because they’ve been mums. Not because they’re health visitors, social workers. And so I think there is something about “Who do we trust”. - You don't mind me joining you? - Of course not! - This is Joshua by the way.... It's not as dangerous as you would think. I'm not too worried about what he's gonna be like... There is clearly an issue of safety and trust. Of course it can be unsafe at the margins of course there are predators and charlatans. - Hi Alain? - Eric? - Yeah, how's it going... What’s really interesting about anything like this... Any system that tries to apply rules to human behaviour leaves itself open to being gamed. It’s scary, not everybody can cope with it. - Hello! - Hey! - How are you? - I'm well, how are you? - So this is your place... But I think if you show trust, then what tends to happen is that you reduced the incentive to game the system substantially. So just by being open and showing trust, you can actually protect yourself... - The flat is quite small as you can see... Over there is the restrooms. - Ok. - I usually share my time with the kitchen and the couchsurfer. - Is this your first time in London? In Europe? - Yeah, actually first time in Europe... first time pretty much... out of North America. - What are your first impressions so far? - It's...it's another world. - If you want to use the phone... call someone... I have Skype. There are ways in which we can trust one another. Critically, the Couchsurfing site doesn’t just work by turning up addresses of random strangers in remote countries, It actually has a number of mechanisms as do many of these services eBay perhaps most famously with the reputation model. It has a number of mechanisms... I trust sharing things with you if you and I may share again in the future or we know someone in common. And all of those patterns... which were previously limited by the lack of real group communication tools have now reappeared. - Help yourself... Enjoy the food. Hope you like it. - Yeah, It smells amazing. - In the beginning it was kind of interesting. I joined and wasn’t really sure what I was going to find out. So I saw there was a meeting and I said let me see what the people look like... ‘cause you never know... Internet, these sort of things.... they could be a bunch of freaks! But getting there, sitting down and talking to them I said "wonderful", they are open minded people, They talk about travels... There is so much in common that I said "wonderful" and started joining the meetings. - It’s just a big group of people that most of them you know are already past some kind of.... some kind of barrier. Wherever you, go you can just immediately make a connection with somebody. Deadly hostels biggest danger for backpackers. Hotel murder man had "two names". Couple held over hotel fire deaths. There’s more than 500.000 members, 1500 people meeting up per night to sleep on each other’s couches... Can you trust the first thing that comes up when you search on Google for a bit of information about a health condition you have? Can you trust that more than the doctor? The fact is that if you have lots and lots of people collaborating and sharing information, actually the good rises to the top. There’s a kind of self-policing going on... I’ve seen bad advice. And if there is bad advice you can guarantee that people afterwards are going to say ‘no’, ignore such and such a person. They don’t know what they’re talking about. If you’ve got one post saying ‘do this’ and then you’ve got 25 posts afterwards saying 'Don’t listen to them, they haven’t got a clue!' then they’re not going to listen to them. The more people you have involved, the more people you have tending to the information that's being shared. That is a way of ensuring quality. It’s not that you get advice from one person... you get advice from 25-30 people within minutes. So you post a thread... Now though I’m the one running along... ‘Oh look, I know that thread, I can post you the links!’ Yes, you want a vaginal birth? Oh of course you can have one! Here you go, have a look at this... You would trust other mums more than you would trust the health service, or government policy or best practice papers, about how to bring up children and so on. And so the motivation to network on a peer to peer basis and help each other, is quite high. It’s a very simple economic model in terms of how you invest your time and your attention. - Hello, welcome to Directionless Enquiries? - I’m trying to find the nearest cash machine. I’m outside Shoreditch church... on Shoreditch high street. The basic idea is this, it’s that… if you’re out on the street and you’ve got a mobile phone, you phone this number and you’re connected to somebody that happens to be able to answer a question that you need to know. The London number is directed at people who’ve registered for the system and have expressed the fact that they know something about London, or about a particular part of London. So you can phone that number and you’ll be connected to people with that local knowledge. It’s basically like a virtual telephone exchange. I basically phone up a number and they’ll tell me... if there's anything I want to know. I don’t really mind talking to somebody in a call centre in Bangalore, but it isn’t always the best place to get information about what’s happening next door to you or down your street. Especially if you’re stuck somewhere and you need to get to a pub that you don't know the name of or you've lost the details of where this or that is. It’s quite nice, just to be able to help someone on their way by giving them directions, for example. Or by imparting a bit of your... wisdom that you’ve gained over the many years of being on this planet. There is something in the fact that... that kind of gift economy has always been there. It’s just that it’s remained invisible and partly what this social media is begging to do is bring that gift economy out into the open, to make it more tangible. The cost to you of sharing one piece of information is a lot less than the benefit that you get back from everybody else’s information. So, you know, it’s like the old adage... "You’ve got one thing to teach and lots of things to learn”. And I think that model is present in many of these sites and these phenomena. If a system can actually give people responsibility and actually allow them to act in a positive way then they will do that. They will do that with 'gusto'. They’re connecting on the basis of highly relevant similarities. It’s not generic do-gooding, This is highly specific and highly individualized and therefore far more powerful. Whether it’s traveling on a budget, whether it’s being a mother or whether it’s being someone who feels they need a bit of help from a friendly stranger who’s been in the same situation... Everything can be fulfilled by allowing people to help each other. So far, through Alain, I’ve met quite a few people And within just a few days I’ve already hung out and, like, met tons of people in a city that seems otherwise, unfriendly. It’s just the beginning of this fantastic phenomenon. It’s a very powerful force for good, the potential for people to connect in this way. It’s just about... creating the circumstances that allow people to do that. And I think that there’s so much... stuff out there which kind of treats people as if they’re gonna... ...mess things up. Or they’re incompetent... And our approach to people is that generally they are competent. Ok, they might mess up occasionally... but if you offer them an opportunity to help, they will gladly take it, and they will get a warm feeling as I always get a warm feeling from doing the stuff that I do. What’s happened in the 20th century was really the anomaly. We’re actually seeing a reversion to a very common and deep human pattern of doing things because we like each other doing things because we care for each other doing things to get recognition and to get reputational capital. There are collaborative ways of working and doing things which deliver the public service outcome far better than the old model. People will increasingly expect... to be able to make choices to be able to express themselves, to stand up and be counted in more than just a number, a vote or a tick. So how will governments relate to people who are more empowered? If you look at how public services work currently, it’s very much a kind of... they’re built on a model of each of us being passive consumers. So actually we’re beginning to understand that public services need to start not with problems and needs but instead with people and what they can bring. I think the reason the people want to get involved is because they feel they have something to give back. And I think that’s something that all public services are going to need to grapple with. These hugely centralised approaches have got huge dangers and I think they overlook the fact that people are naturally collaborative and cooperative and that... different versions of the same technologies are now available to everybody. So people can work together in ways that ask a deeper question about the role of government. In the past, we’ve needed institutions. These days we have mechanisms for joining together lots of individuals based on their own self interest that are now competitive with the power of institutions. Hierarchies are very inefficient. They’re very slow moving, they concentrate power and information at the top and they often deny people opportunities to take initiatives, to share ideas and to seek sollutions themselves. And they often rob people of a sense of agency. The big shift that’s going on is the idea that every one is available for group action. It doesn’t mean that everyone will participate in group action, it doesn’t mean that all participation will be equal but it does mean that everybody can get involved. We all own a team called Ebsfleet United. There’s about 30.000 of us members online. We log in online, make our team decisions, make all the vote proposals... and basically run the club now. - Well that’s gone out of play, for an Ebbsfleet throw... I think every stop in play, bit of time wasting... Some people just see this as a Champ Manager football game but it’s not, it’s real life. Now, big choice... Who’s gonna play up front? "Big" John Akinde! You can turn institutions upside down using the Net. You can design... systems and institutions from the bottom up and let them self organize. I always go for Lance Cronin because he represents England at a semi-professional level... £500,000 is collected in 10 days and MyFootballClub has over 12,000 members. 95.89% say "Yes" to Ebbsfleet. MyFootballClub members approve takeover We’ve lived here all our lives. I started going when I was about 8 or 9 with my Grandfather. You know. long term. I think the way the voting will go... it will select the best available team. Now, it’s good to have Stacy Long in the wing... Right-back: I usually like to pick... Mark Ricketts. He’s only just come back from injury... He did well last game, I think I might try him there... Lets put Sacha at the left-back. In a way, it’s less personal to take advice from 30,000 people than from one arrogant person. And, if you get it right, taking your cue from 30,000 people actually creates a much better chance that one person isn’t goint to be making a kind of catastrophic mistake. I’m sure it feels very different in the management suite. And then we’ve got at left-back Sacha Opinel. He’s been brilliant all season. If you just open yourselves up, you find that there’s all these resources out there... And all this expertise out there, that could be incredibly valuable. And that is my team! Save... Ebbsfleet United are in pole position to progress to the FA Trophy. Ebbsfleet United, they’re playing in the semi final today of the FA trophy, against Aldershot. And we're 3-1 up... We've never been to Wembley before... In this self-organizing model, it can be very low cost and very efficient compared with top-down, bureaucratic, hierarchy. Just compare... Open Source software with Microsoft. Open Source software is a public good provided by volunteers. The source code used to generate the software is freely available. Microsoft spends billions to develop products which are less sophisticated than Linux. Linux is this large open source software writing community. Linux doesn’t have a head office, it doesn’t have any corporate jets, it doesn’t have any away days it doesn’t have any human resources department It has none of the stuff that large organisations have, yet it manages to produce something which is reliable and is used by governments all over the world. The code is out there. I mean, just use it. It’s free. You can submit your own patches, if you’re a programmer. Maybe you’re not a programmer... maybe you give feedback to developers, go on forums, you know, say... Ah, this software is very good but... I'm not a programmer but I'd really like to see this feature. A lot of developers are very open to ideas. So you suddenly get into all sort of systems people take for granted as well as just the desktop PCs. Banks are all heavy users of Linux. A lot of it is on services used across the Internet like Google, Amazon... At home in things like televisions these days mobile phones... We’ve had people do things like wire the speedometer data into the music system so that as they pass a certain speed, it starts playing “Ride of the Valkyries” reminding them to slow down. Because you can actually tinker with all this stuff, it gives you an enormous power to customize it to your own taste. What someone else put in, might benefit thousands and thousands of other people. And by having that collaboration and having people get their say and other people contribute to the code you can get more valuable software. You’re not just getting what one person wants with the software... Alan Cox is one of the most influential IT innovators in the world. For leaders in an online world, the critical things is not to feel threatend. I think it is about...letting go. It’s a tricky thing to be the leader of a heard of cats. If 30,000 people came over and said “you should do this”... It feels a bit harsh to him... but he says he supports it and he thinks it’s a great idea. You hope that it’s going to be helpful and not go the other way... and I’m sure everyone’s working for it to make a good partnership and run as smoothly as possible. I think with team selection ultimately it will come down to... ...the forums. You’ve got to be very brave to accept the decisions. You’re going into something that’s not got any real... history or evidence to back anything up so you’re stepping a little bit into the unknown and we might have to make mistakes to go forward, because it’s so new. Meg Whitman who used to own Ebay said it was like leading a town meeting. It basically means... that when you are leading anything it becomes a political job Because what you’re dealing with is not people you can instruct and tell. You have to persuade and win their support. It’s a real art. And it's a different kind of art than what we think of as management in the classic sense. The people who make the transistion best from being manager to the leader, are the people who are comfortable with letting go. It’d be really interesting to get Gordon Brown and ask him whether he’d be prepared for his job to be changed in the way Liam Daish’s job has changed. Would he be happy... really, to have that level of participation. They talk about evidence based policies and they talk about being the servants and not the masters. But would he really like to have people... driving his decisions in that sort of way. Well...I’m not sure about that. This is a football club. I’m not talking about... the world or... the country. I don’t know if that could get a little bit... ...a little bit... A bit of anarchy, but... You know, this is...this is... This is new, it’s interesting and we’re giving it a good crack. Ultimately, I assume... I don't know him obviously... but I assume the real proof is in the pudding. If he wins more games, he’s going to be happy to be in this situation he's in than if he loses a lot of games. It’s going to be the kind of record that will play out over time. We’ll see how that football team does. - Yellows! Yellows! - Did you pick the team this morning? - I did 4-4-2... - Did you pick Chris McPhee to play right back? - Yes! - So did I! Well, Fleet kick-off.... This is possibly the biggest game in Ebbsfleet United’s history. So much riding on it. A trip to Wembly beckons. Ebbsfleet lining up... Barrett collects and he’s gone over the top to Chuckie! Chuckie will get to this! A cross put it in! John Akinde looking for it! But not quite getting to it... More and more people either because they grew up in that world or because they’ve learned about this world take it for granted that they can get involved that they can interact. Take it for granted that there is significant wisdom and value in interacting with other people in groups that don’t have all the kind of classic infrastructure, but are nevertheless tremendously important and engaging. - The referee blows his whistle. (commentators) Tim, we’ve got to be happy... - Still got that 3-1 aggregate lead... We’ve looked like we might create chances in this half. We’ve weathered the storm... - Any subs? - Perhaps we can get on the computers and tell Laim to bring on the subs... - Well these Ebsfleet players are 45 minutes from their destiny. Chriss Mcphee clears... If Ebbsfleet turned into a real success then that’s evidence that a participative decision making process can lead to good results. - Half an hour to glory for Ebsfleet United. Aldershot really looking dangerous again... A little flick through! He is through! And it's a goal! ....to Aldershot town. The linesman didn't give offside... At the end of the day communities don’t work unless decisions get taken. And so the communes in the 60s and 70s in America, thousands of communes failed largely because they couldn’t take decisions. You can imagine a team of surgeons being preferable to 35,000 people trying to move the knife. It’s not a recipe that’s going to work in every single situation. - Well that’s ramped the nerves up a significant amount. - The tension really is a factor now. I’m not too sure how Liam does reassuring and comforting but he’ll certainly be geeing up his men for these last 8 minutes plus added time to go. Unless we see, of course extra time Which would be the case if Aldershot manage to score. Paul McCarthy has this covered though. He plays the ball back to Lars Cronin who is forced to clear. - Nail biting moments these for Ebbsfleet. - I think the problem is... the team and we are all so close to Wembley... that to have it snatched away now... would just be... horrible. - Keep the ball Fleet! Keep the ball! - Get on with it! - And then George Purcell's on top of him! He’s in the corner... He plays it inside! Stacy Long! And it's in the net! It’s in the net! The Fleet are going to Wembley! 1-1 and the Fleet, on aggregate lead The Fleet are going to Wembley! It’s the massive advantage of just opening yourself up. We are taking the team to Wembley... It hasn’t sunk in yet! If someone had said to me back in August "you’re going to be picking the team that plays at Wembley" I would not’ve believed it. It’s so amazing! The desire to collaborate with other people and get a sense of “what I’m doing is useful and meaningful” has always been there. But basically the barriers to entry have gone down rapidly over the last 10 years. So now you’re starting to see it really become... the mainstream. I picked most of that team... and we are going to Wembley. And you feel that it’s been achieved in part on your selection. The proponents of participative government could say Here is evidence... ...the wisdom of the crowd is right... and that listening to everybody is a good idea. And instead of phony consultations you should probably do real consultations about issues that people really care about. The major change is that institutions are now threatened in terms of their power relations by groups of individuals who can actually organize to change things. Across the spectrum from banking, education, health... through to entertainment culture you’ll see a gradual move over the next two decades towards much more open models of organization and that’s a very, very powerful recipe. Throughout the 20th century we created wealth through the vertically integrated corporation. It did everything from soup to nuts. Why does the firm exist? If markets are the best mechanism for determining how goods and resources are allocated, why isn’t everybody an independent contractor at every step along the way of production? The answer is collaboration costs. Because the Web drops collaboration costs, consumers can now produce. You can be a bank manager. You basically, have got control over what you’re doing, who you’re lending your money to and what interest rate you want to set. I don’t think we have...a sort of... conventional customer/supplyer relationship. So it started by us saying to our users “We’ve been approached by a film company making a documentary", I like the press release below... There looking to interview a lender and learn about their personal experience of Zopa. Adrian, or Adilowes as we know him, responded and said “Amanda has said no... ...as our house is a mess at the moment... I’ve just pinged off an email asking if filming can be in another location and will let you know.” So he then said “I’ve spoken to film company this evening. Made my demands for red and green M&Ms only... And for tea to be made... ...with milk from a male Yak. We’re different. And we’ve captured the immagination and consumers like us. And banks would love it if their consumers liked them. I’ve been in business for about 8 years and the bank always make you feel guilty, firstly, about borrowing. And then all the pomp and ceremony that has to go with it with regards to the paperwork and declaring your soul really! These are people that have lent me the money. They’ve all lent me in denominations of 10s, 20s, 30s and 40 pounds. It’s weird that I know how old they are.... Mr Lender who’s 70... he’s putting £20 of his pension. It’s bizarre! Where they live... but I guess that’s the whole point isn’t it. To bring you closer to your community and the people that are helping you. Basically my part time hobby is to be a mobile DJ. We do all types of venues, parties... In purely pragmatic terms, financially, we need the bigger lenders more than we need the smaller lenders. But we also need a sense of community. Therefore anyone who wants to invest their time and energy in that sense of community, is fantastic. Basically we develop a community and a company around it's users. So the company is changing all the time to match what the users are wanting and what they’re suggesting. We think of customers as only being outside the boundaries of companies. The customer is out there. We do market research, we understand our customer... we push products out to them through traditional mass media. Well now customers can be brought inside a business web. Where customers can co-innovate value... and can co-create value. This one here, I’m actually... I'm interested on bidding on, the second one down. It's similar to like an eBay style thing. He’s wanting to borrow £3000 to buy a car outright and so doesn’t need to get HP vehicle finance. The Zopa rate of 10%, works out roughly at £260 a month, where with a HP... the amount is £386 a month... Meaning he’s actually gonna be able to reduce his monthly outgoings. I’m actually gonna put a bid in now... and to be honest I’ll probably come in at around 9%. So, I’ll offer him £10... The central tennent of the business is that people work together. So there is intrinsically a human element to what we do... which isn’t in a bank. I think, where banks have gotten themselves into trouble is by optimising... their returns from consumers. And in some ways... Being seen to charge... disproportionate amounts to people who actually are probably the most vulnerable people who cant necessarily afford to pay. And wouldn’t it be fairer if people who bounced a direct debit or were overdrawn for a day were charged a fee that was appropriate... to their "crime". A court case began today which might produce that very rare event: a bank giving money to its customers. Hundreds of thousands of people are affected. Maybe it’s they who bought sufficient copies of a single on the subject, for it to burst into the charts yesterday at number 25... I fought the Lloyds and the Lloyds lost! They even paid the interest and the court costs. At first they sent me letters saying: Dear Sir/Madame, get lost! but I fought the Lloyds and the Lloyds lost! The music world is going through an evolution and we haven’t got to the end yet. At the moment we’ve got to the point where the old model is widely considered to be dead. It’s a crushingly harsh industry. Of the people who do get a record deal, 95% get dumped after their first album. A large proportion never even get to make an album even though they have a record deal. And probably one in 1000 end up making a lifetime career out of it. So I figured there had to be a better way of actually discovering music. Over and above discovering music, actually producing music... "Slice the Pie" is a financing engine for the music industry. Our core function is to connect music fans and credible bands and allow the fans to finance the professional production of an album and then share the proceeds with the people that have actually put up the finance. Essentially its like a virtual gig if you like. All the bands get together, put all their songs in, then all the people will vote on... all the people will vote... and you get whittled down to the last 15. It’s not such a vote really... It’s more of a rating. They kind of rate your track. The good thing about it is that you can scroll down, you can see all the reviews that people have put... Sounds very much like the Jam... Nice up beat... 6/10, 7/10, 6/10... There’s a 9/10! Even if we didn’t win the actual showcase I think it’s quite good to actually get some feedback on your songs. They’re under no pressure to give you a good review, ‘cause they don’t know who you are anyway where as if you met someone at a gig they’d feel kind of more pressured to not tell you the truth. And we don’t know who they are either so if someone gives us a shit review we can’t go and hunt them down and... string them up by the nuts and... beat them to a pulp... You have people from all over the world giving their honest, independent opinions... So it's a very, very reliable way of actually filtering music. It’s not an X-Factor. It’s about genuinely using your wisdom and experience to influence who ends up making an album and who ends up succeeding in the industry. And that’s quite intoxicating to a large slice of the population. People do it because it’s fun, because they don’t like the traditional publishing industry, they do it as a hobby, they do it for intellectual stimulation, there are lots of reasons. I could be putting money in a bank and that bank could be lending it out anywhere in the world to regimes or anything. You don’t know what they’re doing with your money. They’re very open and very honest. You can go and see how simple it is and how they make money. They’re not hiding anything... You don’t see a webpage on Natwest or Abbey National saying “how we make money”. There’s been an expression for a long time that “You do well by doing good”, and I don’t think it’s been true in the past. Lots of companies did well by being really bad! By being monopolies or having terrible labour practices, or having lousy products that they put a lot of money into advertising and sales. And companies are having to clean up, not because of regulation... They’re having to clean up because of market forces and the power of transparency. We don’t have a brand value or a mantra that says “We will declare every mistake we ever make” It’s more... That people are going to find out about our mistakes and we do make them so better to tell them.. than let them find out. So every company is becoming naked. And if you’re going to be naked then fitness is no longer an option. If you’re going to be naked, you'd better be buff! We don’t fundamentally and I don’t want to sound too sanctimonious here, but I don’t think we do anything that’s fundamentally bad. So therefore we don’t have to be ashamed of any fee we charge or way we behave. I think before we won this money with Slice the Pie we were doing probably... three gigs a month for maybe a year. And for all of that hard work to pay off... it’s nice to actually be where we wanted to be. We’ve got a huge fan base. We’re signed to a lovely label that lets us have complete artistic control over all our albums... We’re not controlled into... releasing something that they want us to release. We release whatever we want to do. The music industry has been extraordinarily well disintermediated to use a piece of horrible jargon. Is it so far fetched to think that other industries will follow? I think that in the corridors of power, we get talked about. and they therefore think Hang on a minute, this could be quite interesting. If this grew to a multiple of it’s current size then actually it’s quite a threat. This is no longer about hooking up online or creating a gardening community, This is becoming a new mode of production that’s beginning to fundamentally change the way that we orchestrate capability in society, the way that we innovate and create goods and services. And the corporation is going through I think, the biggest change in a century. I think the losers will be the people who say “I’ll always make better decisions” The winners will be those who are more open-minded and understand that the world is changing and the Internet is a huge opportunity to make things better. It shouldn’t always be looked at as a threat. The change in the relationship between customers and companies is mirrored in the relationship between citizens and their governments. If you could actually... combine that innate intelligence... The millions of diverse opinions from people who have diverse perspectives, you would end up with fantastic policies. They go from incompetence to complacency and there are questions about his integrity. Aren’t people rightly asking now: “is this man simply not cut out for the job?”. Order! Prime Minister... Right now the whole model of policy development and arguably of democracy, is a broadcast model. It goes like this: I’m a politician... listen to my advertisments and debates. Then go and vote for me and then I’m going to broadcast to you for four years and then we get to do it all over again. You vote, I rule. Government in Britain is based on the party system. And although the elector marks his cross against the name of an individual, he is in fact casting a vote in support of a party program. This model is inappropriate for the 21st century. I’m not talking about... people lobbying government or outside parties influencing government, I’m talking about, in some ways... Unbundling and reconstituting what is a government. I think there is a great potential for decision making to start actually on ground level. On a far less grand stage than Parliament deciding about immigration laws but actually about... participatory budgeting. I represent a model railway club and we’re looking for some funding to purchase track. For this event they’ve got 20 thousand pounds up for grabs and the community decides where the money goes. Well today I’m going to... try and get some funding for playground equipment for the children at school. I have nominated a project which is to regenerate the churchyard at Morcombe parish church. The whole idea is that the people of Poulton, and only the people of Poulton, will vote on each project and the 20 thousand pounds will be given away this afternoon. Good afternoon everybody... we’re going to start proceedings in 5 minutes... Each group is going to have a three minute presentation and we are going to have to keep it very strictly to three minutes. We know that people’s perception that they can participate in decision making is a key driver and has a direct correlation to the levels of trust and satisfaction. Now we know that both trust and satisfaction are taking a bit of a dive in the public sector at the moment so... there does seem to be a correlation between the sense that people can influence decisions and trust and satisfaction. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they do, but it’s that sense that they can... I’d like to hand you over now to Ebony who’d like to speak... Hi, my name is Ebony. We would like you to give us a grant for two thousand pounds... So in order for us to continue please, please support our bid. Thank you. Hello, I’m Dean Harrison. Down there is Jack Lord... When you do it in public, and when other people know that it’s your reputation on the line... I can give my mate10/10 for his little project but in fact... this business about making the hospital work better in the town I live in... I’ve actually got to pay some attention to that. Once you deliver something that actually allows people to make a decision, it’s incredible how compelling it is and how willing people are to participate in these things because... they are exciting! That's why people are... less engaged in politics in a representative sense but they’re much more engaged in politics in a personal sense in terms of the power that they feel to affect their community and the world around them. I think that’s steadily increasing as their trust in representative politicians is steadily decreasing. We got the money! It was absolutely superb, we had a really good day... we’re really chuffed by it all and everybody that’s been involved is absolutely delighted with it. Right guys... yesterday Jack and I went to the "In Your Hands". It was unsuccessful. We didn’t get enough votes. Although we weren’t successful at that time it opened my eyes up to how many different organizations were in the area. - But at least the people are making the decision... - Yeah, for the community it was a good idea. - I don’t think the money was spent on anything that didn’t deserve it so... - Is this the first one? - It’s the first one, yeah.. - It's the first time I'd ever heard of it... - So we know better next time. - Yeah, it’s a learning curve... You don’t have to get your way to feel enfranchised. What actually comes of... giving people responsibility for decision making is that they really care about the decisions of the minorities within a group and that people are very willing to compromise and that compromise is easily achievable once everybody’s cards are on the table and people can really understand the viewpoints at work. Democracy is a lot more than majority rule on a nightly basis. The technology is becoming possible for millions of people to have a conversation. The assumption... that people will be included is spreading so widely and so deeply. That, I think is going to be a big driver of governmental change. It’s not just when it becomes an option for people in elected office but also an expectation of their constituents. It’s just that now we have a mass consumer technology that supports this, so... we’re only now beginning to discover what we can do with it. In a country where voter turnouts are pretty low lots of people believe that politicians don’t really work for them. Lots of people feel that nothing they can do matters or in any way has any impact at all... it would give citizens a lot more power if they knew a lot of stuff that was currently hidden or effectively secret. But I also think it would enable politicians to run a much better government and this is a thing that I think politicians don’t often believe. They tend to think that transparency is just something used to harm them. Opacity may hide problems today but it almost certainly builds the biggest scandals of the sort that then cause politicians real amounts of trouble. So, if I can make them understand anything about this new world it would be that much greater transparency probably makes them much more electable people. It is a shift in power. It’s a different kind of democracy in my view. It is seeing representative democracy as playing an important role and it’s also not romanticising the fact that everyone wants to sit on committees. And of course for government and politicians that is a profound challenge to the way politics is normally done which is: we communicate from on high... from Parliament, from Whitehall, and only once every four or five years is there a general election where the public are brought in. I think that’s a good thing that this change is happening, but I do think that it will shake up British politics and indeed politics around the world in a way that people probably haven’t anticipated yet. If you look at what... George Osborne is saying and some of the other people in the new wing of the Conservative party, they appear to understand what’s going on in the real world in terms of social networks and... Myspace generations and all that kind of stuff but I think that’s partly because they have the advantage of having been in opposition for a period of time. Whether they can apply that to government, is another question. Remember, we do have this sort of thing called... ...voting. You know what I mean? Where people get to choose who their representatives are... D’you know what I mean? Politics is quite open to... - Once every...four years. Is that enough? - No it isn't! Definitely not... I mean...I think... Let me think about how I’d put this... New paradigms cause dislocation and confusion and they’re nearly always received with coolness or worse: mockery, hostility... Invested interests fighting against change. It’s very important that the role of government remains. The role of government being to provide the resources for peope to make local decisions about how they want money spent in an area. You know, this isn’t about a DIY country... because if you had a DIY country without any role for government where would the funding come from for all the important things that people want done in a particular area, for example. I think representative democracy was based on the idea that people are thick. That’s not true. I think there’s a much more radical thing that will happen which is basically that people will go around the side of representative democracy. And rather than saying "I want to have input on what this politician is deciding in Parliament" they’ll do it themselves. I think what we’ll see is just some of the activities and powers of government moving into the public realm and they will be run better by citizens than they are by government. Imagine you wanted to build a new railway between London and Birmingham that would cut the journey time. How much would that cost? At the moment, the only method of doing that is through taxes. Now, if you were to use "The Point" to do that completely outside of public policy... You could do it! There is this possibility of using these tools to do massive things. which is completely unexplored at the moment. Broader numbers of people could be engaged in things like policy formation. For example, the Green Party in Canada created its program through a Wiki where all members of the Green Party could come together, just like with Wikipedia and co-innovate and co-create a political program. And it worked out pretty well. And actually what these tools are doing is allowing people to make decisions themselves and to work collaboratively in a way that means that representative democracy is less meaningful to them. There’s a whole new model that’s emerging where we become part of the government. I call it Government 2.0 What I think will happen is a much higher degree of hybridization between government and the people and particularly the groups of people that they serve. There is a good analogy for the new model of government in terms of the changes in the Internet... MySpace beats MTV... CNN.com gets eclipsed by Blogger.com... Similarly with governments... Governments, rather than doing everything could more create a platform whereby citizens and others can self-organize to create better value than what currently exists. We've seen lots of other changes in the past that could potentially lead to a better world but actually they result in first world war trench warfare... or genocide in the second world war for example... so I think we should be careful about having too Utopian a vision for how these things will play out. Of course there are lots of challenges in doing something like this. There will be saboteurs... There’ll be some people who won’t have access to the Web. There’s the whole complexity of millions of ideas and how these get aggregated together and the good ones come to the fore... But these are all in the category of implementation challenges, they’re not in the category of “reasons not to do it”. In any revolution there are downsides. But I am optimistic that... We’re living through what economists would call a positive supply side shock to the amount of freedom in the world. More people can say more things to more people than ever in history... And that is still growing enormously. I think in the times when we’ve seen enormous increases in intellectual or political freedom there has certainly been a period of chaos immediately afterwards. But over the long haul the values of those changes have been not just mainly positive but enormously positive for society. We will have a form of government that engages, understand and knows what to do with what people are saying. It’s a politics where you can help as well as just saying what you want. And that’s an amazing thing. At the moment we’re starting to see that with some online projects but imagine if... a country was run like that or if even just a town was run like that. In the way that, you know... we’re starting to see football clubs run like that. I think that’s the sign of things to come. As time goes on we will see people increasingly comfortable participating in situations where the social value is really about other people caring enough rather than someone being paid to provide that value. Where the end point of that is, I don’t know... but I do think the end result is going to be quite profound. DVDs Available

Video Details

Duration: 1 hour and 32 seconds
Year: 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Producer: Banyak Films
Director: Ivo Gormley
Views: 71,427
Posted by: banyak films on May 6, 2009

Us Now tells the stories of online networks that are challenging the existing notion of hierarchy. For the first time, it brings together the fore-most thinkers in the field of participative governance to describe the future of government.

Us Now follows the fate of Ebbsfleet United, a football club owned and run by its fans; Zopa, a bank in which everyone is the manager; and Couch Surfing, a vast online network whose members share their homes
with strangers.

Us Now takes a look at how this type of participation could transform the way that countries are governed. It tells the stories of the online networks whose radical self-organising structures threaten to change the fabric of government forever.

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