Saturday, 25 October 2008
New Capitalism in Action - Now Then Sheffield
Questioning the prevailing business mindset of the unfettered market economy and challenging the lack of concern for social and environmental consequences of the mindless pursuit of materialistic 'need pacifiers' has really jumped to the forefront of people's attention.
This doesn't mean, of course, that everybody is now replacing Steven Hawkings Brief History of Time on their bookshelves with an equally less read copy of Marx's Das Kapital. What it might signal however is the realisation of many people as to just what extent they have abdicated their self control to the social influence initiatives of major corporations.
Milton Freidmann argued that the sole responsibility of an organisation was to maximise the return for shareholders, and this mantra has guided the excesses and short-termism of the banking fraternity with obvious consequences. The question is should Mr Friedmann's way be blindly accepted as the best way of doing business?
Now Then Sheffield is an example of a business model that challenges these assumptions and shows how we needn't gullibly accept prevailing wisdoms. Giving the disenfranchised and those with limited resources an opportunity to develop their talents and still make sufficient funding to keep the project alive is a key aim of a basket of projects that have been initiated by Social Enterprise. organisation Opus productions.
The magazine Now Then Sheffield is one of several projects that were introduced to me at a recent meeting that sought to bring academics and business people together to explore experiences and perspectives on different ways of 'doing business'
James Lock is one of the thought leaders behind the project and a brilliant example of someone who combines a socially motivated principle with a practical revenue generating edge. The key point though is that the projects are not 'self-serving' they have to be 'win -win'.
In that sense James and Now Then Sheffield is practical evidence of the Zeit Geist that pervades the blogosphere - collaborative effort, unconditional sharing of resources, empowering the individual, cultivating aspirations, acting in a sustainable and community spirited way. The magazine is distributed free and works on an advertising revenue model and these revenues fund project management. The bigger the distribution, the more advertising, the more revenue, the more people who need it are helped to get develop their talents.
The simple message is 'you don't need to step on the heads of others to achieve success'
Jame's project deserves your support, please visit his website with your feedback. He's looking into developing a social network presence and you might have some tips for him. If you think that the project deserves more attention please Stumble and Digg, it is much appreciated and in that way you can help make a difference to people who need it. We can all use our social influence to change the world.