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Understanding “New Power”

Plotting organizations along these dimensions sheds light on how companies are accumulating and wielding power. In the bottom-left quadrant are organizations that use old power models and have old power values. In the top-left quadrant are organizations with a new power model—for example, a network connecting many users or makers—but old power sensibilities. This category includes technology natives like Facebook, whose model depends on participation but whose decisions sometimes seem to ignore the wishes of its community, as well as organizations like the Tea Party, which has a strong, decentralized grassroots network but wields its influence in highly traditional corridors of power.

In the bottom-right quadrant are organizations that use old power models but embrace new power values. Patagonia, for example, has a traditional old power business model, yet it stands out for its embrace of new power values like transparency. Their core operating models are peer-driven, and their values celebrate the power of the crowd. This is where we find established peer-driven players, like Wikipedia, Etsy, and Bitcoin, and newer sharing-economy start-ups, like Lyft and Sidecar. This quadrant also includes distributed activist groups and radically open education models.

Some organizations have moved from one quadrant to another over time. Since then, TED has broadened its model by enabling self-organization and participation via the TEDx franchise and by making its previously closed content open to everyone. Both decisions have had a major impact on the scale and reach of the TED brand, even as the organization has grappled with risks associated with loosening control. TED is now effectively leveraging a complementary old power and new power business model.

Most organizations recognize that the nature of power is changing. But relatively few understand the keys to influence and impact in this new era. Companies see newly powerful entities using social media, so they layer on a bit of technology without changing their underlying models or values.

They host the occasional, awkwardly curated, lonely Google hangout with the CEO. But having a Facebook page is not the same thing as having a new power strategy. The New York Times is struggling with exactly this dilemma, as its leaked innovation report last year demonstrated. Traditional organizations that want to develop new power capacity must engage in three essential tasks: 1 assess their place in a shifting power environment, 2 channel their harshest critic, and 3 develop a mobilization capacity.

A telling exercise is to plot your organization on the new power compass—both where you are today and where you want to be in five years. Plot your competitors on the same grid. To understand how your organization is deploying new power, consider which participation behaviors you are enabling. This process starts a conversation about new realities and how your organization needs to respond.

What if there were an Occupy-style movement directed at you? Imagine a large group of aggrieved people, camped in the heart of your organization, able to observe everything that you do. What would they think of the distribution of power in your organization and its legitimacy? What would they resent and try to subvert? Figure it out, and then Occupy yourself. This level of introspection has to precede any investment in new power mechanisms. Companies should be especially careful about building engagement platforms without developing engagement cultures, a recipe for failure.

Websites are popping up that provide forums for anonymous employee accounts of what is really going on inside businesses and how leaders are perceived. In our new power world, the private behavior—and core challenges—of every organization is only a leak or a tweet away. This poses a threat to happily opaque old power organizations, which face new levels of scrutiny about performance. Are you really delivering advertising reach for my product? Today, the wisest organizations will be those engaging in the most painfully honest conversations, inside and outside, about their impact.

Old power organizations need to do more than just look inward; they also need to think differently about how they reach out. Organizations that have built their business models on consumption or other minimal participation behaviors will find this challenging but increasingly important. In that conflict between technology companies and copyright holders, both sides enlisted armies of lobbyists, but only one side was able to mobilize an army of citizens.

Organizations that rely on new power can be easily intoxicated by the energy of their crowds and fail to recognize that to effect real change, they too might need to adapt. They should bear three essential principles in mind. If old power organizations should fear being occupied, new power organizations should fear being deserted. Those who deploy new power models but default to old power values are especially at risk of alienating the communities that sustain them. It is also a practical challenge: The expectations of critical stakeholders—investors, regulators, advertisers, and so on—often run counter to the demands of new power communities, and balancing those agendas is not easy.

The rise of Uber, the ride-sharing service, is a study in new power. Uber has built an extraordinarily fast-growing and dense transport network without any physical infrastructure at all. The service relies on peer coordination between drivers and passengers, enabled by sophisticated software and a clever reputation system. Passengers rate drivers, but drivers also rate their passengers—building trust and promoting good behavior without the need for a more onerous rules-based system. By contrast, Airbnb has rallied its hosts into a grassroots army of defenders against skeptical regulators.

Making matters worse, Uber is also tussling with its customer base, which it badly needs to keep on its side, over its surge-pricing model. Uber defends the model as rational and efficient, but some see it as a breach of faith, and new power competitors like Lyft are using this mistrust to drive a wedge.

As Uber scales up, it faces further challenges. At the same time, old power is firing back. French authorities have tried to restrict Uber by proposing a minimum minute wait for any person who requests a car, giving taxi drivers a head start. How will new power players respond to regulatory challenges? For now, the most effective responses will involve a potent combination of old and new power—that is, a traditional lobbying strategy combined with a capacity to mobilize network participants.

Facebook, like many organizations with a new power model, is dealing with this tension between two cultures. What if there were an Occupy-style movement directed at you? Imagine a large group of aggrieved people, camped in the heart of your organization, able to observe everything that you do. What would they think of the distribution of power in your organization and its legitimacy?

What would they resent and try to subvert? Figure it out, and then Occupy yourself. This level of introspection has to precede any investment in new power mechanisms. Companies should be especially careful about building engagement platforms without developing engagement cultures, a recipe for failure. Websites are popping up that provide forums for anonymous employee accounts of what is really going on inside businesses and how leaders are perceived.

In our new power world, the private behavior—and core challenges—of every organization is only a leak or a tweet away. This poses a threat to happily opaque old power organizations, which face new levels of scrutiny about performance. Are you really delivering advertising reach for my product? Today, the wisest organizations will be those engaging in the most painfully honest conversations, inside and outside, about their impact. Old power organizations need to do more than just look inward; they also need to think differently about how they reach out.

Organizations that have built their business models on consumption or other minimal participation behaviors will find this challenging but increasingly important. In that conflict between technology companies and copyright holders, both sides enlisted armies of lobbyists, but only one side was able to mobilize an army of citizens.

Organizations that rely on new power can be easily intoxicated by the energy of their crowds and fail to recognize that to effect real change, they too might need to adapt. They should bear three essential principles in mind. If old power organizations should fear being occupied, new power organizations should fear being deserted. Those who deploy new power models but default to old power values are especially at risk of alienating the communities that sustain them. It is also a practical challenge: The expectations of critical stakeholders—investors, regulators, advertisers, and so on—often run counter to the demands of new power communities, and balancing those agendas is not easy.

The rise of Uber, the ride-sharing service, is a study in new power. Uber has built an extraordinarily fast-growing and dense transport network without any physical infrastructure at all. The service relies on peer coordination between drivers and passengers, enabled by sophisticated software and a clever reputation system.

No other king went through this training regime, and no other king was quite as good as David.

Passengers rate drivers, but drivers also rate their passengers—building trust and promoting good behavior without the need for a more onerous rules-based system. By contrast, Airbnb has rallied its hosts into a grassroots army of defenders against skeptical regulators. Making matters worse, Uber is also tussling with its customer base, which it badly needs to keep on its side, over its surge-pricing model.

Uber defends the model as rational and efficient, but some see it as a breach of faith, and new power competitors like Lyft are using this mistrust to drive a wedge. As Uber scales up, it faces further challenges. At the same time, old power is firing back. French authorities have tried to restrict Uber by proposing a minimum minute wait for any person who requests a car, giving taxi drivers a head start. How will new power players respond to regulatory challenges? For now, the most effective responses will involve a potent combination of old and new power—that is, a traditional lobbying strategy combined with a capacity to mobilize network participants.

Facebook, like many organizations with a new power model, is dealing with this tension between two cultures.

Psalm TPT - Don’t Fail Me, God! - King David’s - Bible Gateway

Initial surges of interest in alternative social networks promising to honor new power values may be a sign of things to come. As new power concepts of digital rights evolve, these conflicts will most likely increase. Khan Academy is the darling of the digerati, but our education systems remain largely unchanged, with school timetables still built around family lifestyles of the s. Arianna Huffington, for example, has built a platform that comprises a network of 50, self-publishing bloggers, but she also skillfully wields an old power Rolodex.

Bilingual players like Huffington deploy old power connections to get what they need—capital, legitimacy, access to partnerships, publicity—without being co-opted or slowed down. They use institutional power without being institutionalized. New power models will always have limited influence and impact unless they are operating within a superstructure designed to play to their strengths. Take the global grassroots movement Avaaz.

Even though it has 40 million members, it will only get so far in its efforts to effect change if the decision-making mechanism that it seeks to influence is an entrenched old power structure like the UN climate negotiation process. New power makes for great campaigns and stirring protests.

David Haller [Legion] -- A God

Populist movements and uprisings of recent years, especially the Arab Spring, vividly demonstrate new power at work. But new power has not yet proved capable of effectively influencing the business of government. It surges but often dissipates quickly, leaving old power to reclaim the advantage. After the victory, however, things changed significantly. The campaign transitioned into government, but its massive grassroots base largely did not. The old power realities of government and the deep-rooted superstructure of rules and procedures were simply not designed for—and would not bend easily to accommodate—new power.


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New power faces two big challenges in influencing government. First, old power is solidly entrenched and well protected. Second, the loose, unaffiliated nature of new power makes it hard to focus. New power is good at big statements, the coin of elections, but bad at small details, the coin of government.


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The Occupy movement flared up and then faded for this reason, lacking a clear strategic direction beyond its initial call to arms. To truly transform government, new power will need to do more than change the short-term political dynamics—it must change the rules of the game. Early experiments, such as participatory budgeting, community activism initiatives like SeeClickFix. Will new power forces prove capable of fundamentally reforming existing structures?

They all knew the promises David was carrying, and longed for their fulfillment. He chooses to do the right thing and waits for God to act on his behalf, in His time.

New Power Values

When we look at the life of David, there are many nuggets we can draw upon to sustain us in our own times of waiting, frustration and hardship. David was not the only one to go through this apparently contrary training program either. Think of Joseph who also had to wait 13 years in the opposite of his promised lofty leadership position, in the humiliation of slavery and down in jail. This is how it often seems to go with God — a long wait often with hardship and then a sudden turnaround.

One day, suddenly, Joseph found himself standing before Pharaoh. One day, David was finally made king. But from the moment of the promise to the moment of delivery is a tough training process. The wait is an important refining, training and testing time, often in a way that may seem opposite to where you want to be. It was during the hard, wilderness years after having been anointed as king, yet seemingly a million miles away from the reality of that promise, that David learned the ropes.

The arrow was being stretched further and further backwards in the bow, ready to be catapulted ahead with great power. He learned how to truly rely on God in an otherworldly way. And that is how God trained David to be such an extraordinary king. Jeffrey Seif, a Jewish police officer who found Jesus! Land of Milk and Honey. What is LOVE? Fans Subscribers. Great tension was created as the gap between the spoken promise and the apparent reality seemed to grow wider and wider… Read these words again, and you will see that I am describing an archer, pulling back his arrows, ready to shoot further, harder, and with more power when it hits the target.

No other king went through this training regime, and no other king was quite as good as David. Take a look at this incident described in 2 Samuel: When King David arrived at Bahurim, behold, just coming out from there was a man of the family of the house of Saul—his name was Shimei son of Gera. Because he had learned two things: 1.

The training ground David had been anointed king at the tender age of 17, but only sat on the throne at the age of God keeps His promises but He often keeps us waiting When we look at the life of David, there are many nuggets we can draw upon to sustain us in our own times of waiting, frustration and hardship. Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash.

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