Maximillian Kaizen
Maximillian Kaizen

African leadershift: social capitalism

There’s an emerging realisation that the strength of distributed nodal power bases is almost unconquerable.
Guerrilla movements, social media and small, focused niches of the Long Tail cause disruption that produces evolutionary economic shifts. Market-making is shifting into the hands of some unlikely new leaders in the quick online world. The butterfly effect of the seemingly insignificant ripples deep in a connected world.

The creaking inefficiencies of organisations grown fat on deep.laid pipelines feeding in profit, while they worry themselves with the real business of hierarchical power play, leaves room for the nimble to spot the leaks and move in to take advantage of their complacency.

Great business opportunities have ever come to entrepreneurs this way. Committee.stagnated bureaucracies, often mask the dazzlingly obvious gaps and simple solutions seen by those “on the ground”.

I know some ferociously passionate small-business advocates on a mission to overthrow the evil corporate megaliths. Their ferocity is no less than that of enflamed radicals who obsess over taking down governments or religions with ancient pipelines of profit and control. They may be the more extreme edge, but they represent our global exhaustion with an outmoded industrial model of power.
However, without the prestige of doing business with giants (should they make it through the limitless red.tape labyrinth intact), most entrepreneurs would falter in developing the credibility so needed to challenge the establishment in the first place. You’re no one till you have a client list well.weighted with big names.

The inevitable problem with power.shifts is that inevitably even the most radical opponents take on the past regime and soon snuggle into the plush pile, merely putting new faces into the same structure. We repeat what we know; even leaders follow.

David and Goliath is a memorable story particularly because it’s rare that one skillful individual will take down a terrorising giant singlehandedly. The likelihood of many taking on the mighty is far stronger.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” — Margaret Mead

Collaborative leadership is something Africa knows far back in her ancient memory, but something that is returned fresh and sexy in global business strategy, and consequently all the rage at the best business schools.

Power widely networked and strongly leveraged on relationships, less territory dominion and more open-sourced: this is a place where those who have been operating on the peripheries are most at home. Power is shifting to the unlikely (do we hear strains of the geek shall inherit the earth). “Diversity” leadership forums are springing up as the world scrambles to deal with a flatter, broader operating system into which it needs to be reformatted for a future fast incoming.

Can all of this synergy, relationship networking and collaboration yield hard profit, though? Perhaps there is no need to abolish the old to bring in the new, no bloody revolutions to mark its passing. Social entrepreneurs like Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus see the leaks and insufficiencies in governments and fill those cracks with both enormous good and good business. Somewhere between too soft charity and too hard capitalism may lie a more human scale economy. Not driven and directed by a Platonic elite, but smaller collaborative units, tribes for a time. This is happening online, and the successes emerging out of social capital indicate that we should at least be experimenting with a fresh economic headspace.

Waiting on leaders to sort our situation out could be an exercise in futility. It may not get better, no matter who we support.

Perhaps now is the time to gather your own tribe: collaborate, co.create. We can communicate around the world with immediacy and ease, and have access to information that was previously secreted in privileged hands.
If we want it, the capacity is here as never before to do something about the issues we give a damn about, to gather others who are similarly focused and move with all the speed and agility that the tech-connected world allows, to flow in and around the cracks of the old system to produce small miracles;
bound only by bandwidth and our bravery.