Bob Dylan and the evolving role of Social Business in the redistribution of “absolute power”

Complexity to casualtyYou can’t fail to have noticed the sorry demise of some major High Street brands in recent years. It’s true that a lot of the “tales of woe” are as a result of the, immediate impact, of the global financial crisis but that is only part of the story. Because, there have probably been more casualties, large and small, as a result of the far-reaching “aftershocks” and resultant recession.

But, this isn’t just about greed and the abandonment of Corporate Governance in banking and industry. For, as some long established firms have collapsed, we have witnessed the meteoric rise of new entrants and the dramatic transformation in the fortunes of others.

Like every good story, there are intriguing, inter-twined, sub-plots that need to be more fully understood: debt-fuelled growth; mismanagement; years of market manipulation; “toxic” financial products; misinformation; reliance on risk models (built upon wrong assumptions); flawed economic theory.

For many long years the management culture of the Institutional model has, without conscience, ruthlessly exploited every opportunity to maximise profits. Whether that be unsafe working practices, scarring and polluting the environment, use of child labour or “feeding” an obesity epidemic. And, like the chemicals used to improve crop yields, facilitate food over-production, additives to increase the margins and volume sales of processed food and drinks, etc. these have impaired, not only, the “cultural DNA” of Corporations but damaged the planet, the health of generations in communities and entire nations.

Wealth, power, relentless lobbying, “ambiguous” marketing, media manipulation and (if you can believe it!) even corruption have, artificially, extended their own shelf-life, at the considerable expense of the planet and society upon which they are reliant for their very survival.

BUT, in the famous words of Bob Dylan…

imageLike the complex societies of history, the model is crumbling under the considerable weight of the  complexity it has created to feed itself at the expense of others: the agility required to adapt is, at best, impaired by the complexity of intertwined relationships that enable function.

Socialisation of the communication tools, that enabled its inter-connected infrastructures to become “global powers”, has enabled mass collaboration and innovation. The “crowd” may not, yet, be as wise as some would have you believe. But WE are considerably better informed than we ever were when we got our information from commentators and the conventional media – too often, in the past, we were presented with a version of the truth orchestrated by “conspiracies of elites”.

PLEASE do yourself a favour and take a look at an excellent presentation that delves into covers the Social Business (r)evolution in considerable detail but without exploring, in depth, the implications for an excessively complex society.

As Bob Dylan wrote almost half a century ago, a society where “your sons and your daughters are beyond your control”, because they understand and are, rightly, critical of what our generation have done. It has taken this long for the tools to be sufficiently freely available to accelerate the demise of a sick culture.

The rapid, irreversible, shift in power offers a choice: adapt and survive OR face extinction!

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