Why The Crowd Is An Engine Of Growth: Haydn Shaughnessy On Understanding Disruption [#CrowdChat Recap]

Written by Hanna Erlandsson

Sep 16, 2015

What’s causing the shift to the new economy and how should organizations react to stay ahead? Haydn Shaughnessy, Co-Founder of The Disruption House and author who has been described as “one of the most refreshing thinkers of innovation,” joined as our special guest on the 9/15/15 Twitter #Crowdchat hosted by Crowdsourcing Week to discuss just that.

Haydn’s passion is to help people understand how disruptive forces will reshape their markets, careers, and companies. He’s the author of the two books, The Elastic Enterprise and SHIFT, described by Forbes as everything you need to know about the digital economy. He has shown how innovation and disruption are structured events, increasingly shaped by the actions of people in open ecosystems. Haydn has brought a systematic rigor to how the crowd is changing politics, economics, and society. At Crowdsourcing Week Europe 2015, Haydn will share his insights on “Why The Crowd is Already the Engine of Growth” live on stage Thursday, October 22, 2015 – so save the date and grab your Day Pass here


Here’s a recap of highlights from our Twitter chat with Haydn on the disruptive forces shifting us to a new economy, modified into a Q & A format. You can read the original transcript of the full live Twitter discussion on Storify.

@Crowdweek: Tell us about the shift in the economy.

@Haydn1701There are many shifts – think Age of Context, digital transformation, consumer empowerment, open source. The era of global trade led by expanding supply chains is over, and we are layering services into everything. Onshoring will involve more distributed and bespoke production fundable by crowds, organised in ecosystems. Large companies rely on consumer and developer ecosystems and open source, all common pool resources.


@Crowdweek: Which 3 verticals or industries are seeing the biggest disruption? 

@Haydn1701: Finance is currently the most challenged but pharmaceuticals, retail, sustainability, and energy are all vulnerable. The opportunity to re-create retail as direct to consumer from any producer is there. In finance it is beginning to dawn on some people that even big ticket financing can be crowd based. Within three years, we can expect citizen labs to have a major role in the pharmaceutical industry – of course the Food and Drug admin will hate it. 


@Crowdweek: How should enterprises respond to these disruptive forces?

@Haydn1701: Think platform. Ask yourself, how can I withdraw from competition and provide a platform that enables the new forces in the market? We now see platforms much more clearly as a successor to the bureaucratic enterprise. They are becoming a standard way to organise economic activity. Old enterprise operating models don’t suit the current economy. It makes far more sense to design platforms.


@Crowdweek: Among the EU states, who are the Top 5 adopters of the shift?

@Haydn1701: I don’t see EU states being systematically attuned to this change. The charge is led by strong startup cultures, principally. Sadly I recently saw the EU promoting a Europe comes to Silicon Valley tour. Heck – a whole continent going on its knees! We can acknowledge that US companies have been quickest to develop new structure. Adoption is strong too in Asia. In Europe we are too wedded to hierarchy – devolution of all kinds badly needed.


@Crowdweek: What do you think are the 3 things Europe needs now? 

@Haydn1701: There is a post-capital labor force building complex personal portfolios in the gig economy. It needs a new set of policies. So policy has 2 new roles. Find ways to build welfare at lower unit cost, and support gig workers to build strong portfolios. There are many implications of that but we have to start with the truth. The old economy and its structures are dying.


@Crowdweek: Fast forward 2025, what will you be doing in 10 years?

@Haydn1701: Officially by then, will be retired, but I know I will be working harder. I doubt there will be pension cover for my generation. I will have minimised cost in my life and learned how to integrate work into my other interests. I will be part of a new political movement demanding new rights for gig workers. I might be an organiser. I may also be involved in some crowd projects that help shape a new educational framework for people.


@Crowdweek: Why is the crowd already the engine of growth?

@Haydn1701:  Look at the growth of open source and you will see the hockey stick effect. Large companies need open communities. They need them because communities are better than regulations or standards. Communities regulate towards sustainable outcomes. A fact of human organisation [is that] if there is a common resource then those who live by it protect it – if power is delegated. Extract power from those affected by common pool resource, and the tendency is to over-mine, over-exploit and kill the resource.


@Crowdweek: How can governments adapt to the new economy? 

@Haydn1701:  Governments are already overrun by the new economy; they are over-regulating it because that is all they have left to offer. Perhaps that is harsh, but we still have political parties from the old economy. The old party structures are not suited to this idea that we must argue for the recognition of common pool resources. We must reintroduce an intellectual, economic life where the desire for personal gain and the need for commonality coexist. The crowd is no longer just a noise in the streets. It is a form of organisation.


About Author

About Author

Hanna Erlandsson

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