Saturday, October 18, 2008

Activist Bringing About Change Through Disruption (Social and Economic)

I am posting on this subject here before dealing with it over at my other blog Milestones for a New Millennium. This blog allows me far more philosophical latitude, making it more of a learning tool for me, and I am still exploring these concepts.

The question is whether it is possible to create economically sustainable enterprises that help the billion at the bottom of the economic ladder in a uber-consumer world? It seems obvious that efforts to break into a market will require innovation, but are the cards so stacked that such efforts are hopeless, especially in fields such as Healthcare? After watching this talk by Clayton Christensen, I am going to say no, that a sustainable social-entrepreneurial model is very viable.
To my mind, this is closely tied with the the concept of creative-destruction. I don't, taking counsel from Robert Solow, see its founding proponent, Joseph Schumpeter as the savior of 21st century economics as some do, and especially not of activists seeking change through social enterprise,.

Which brings us to the "democracy" in Schumpeter's title. He was not a democrat by instinct or by reflection. He had little confidence in the ability of the average citizen to vote intelligently...

At the same time Solow saw that Schumpeter realized that:

Anyone can invent a new product or a new technique of production. The entrepreneur is the one who first sees its economic viability, bucks the odds, fights or worms his way into the market, and eventually wins or loses. Each win means profit for the entrepreneur and his backers, and it also means a jog upward for the whole economy. In the course of this process, which cannot possibly run smoothly, many businesses, individuals, and institutions, themselves founded on earlier successful innovations, will be undermined and swept away. Schumpeter called this birth-and-death process "creative destruction," and realized before anyone else that it was the main source of economic growth.

Creative-destruction is still a useful means, more descriptive than prescriptive, of looking at the world. The disagreement is with what actions we take with that knowledge. What disruptive innovations allow social-entrepreneurs is a means of striving in the world without having to beat the leading-edge of established corporations.

Other posts on creative-destruction
Creative-Destruction, Entrepreneurship And Innovation
The Awards And Risks of Innovation: Embracing Destruction And Creation
Consumerville USA Versus Creatorville USA

We Are All Getting Digital - Old Rocker Shows the Way

| New York Times August 10, 2008 An Old Rocker Gets Digital By FRED GOODMAN

Peter Gabriel, the rock musician, has become a powerful player in the emerging online music industry by helping artists find new ways to market their music on the Web.

This has been sitting in my draft bin for about a week. Going digital is not really breaking news, it is an on going transformation. I am pleased that it is an Old Rocker leading the transformation.

This has been an off and on topic for this blog for sometime. What is of interest is the transforming of older paradigms defining mass media industries, such as music, into newer paradigms. The transformation has impact on individual artists and businesses, but it also has broader impact on how we define ourselves in terms of community. It also makes for an interesting model as to how endeavors that are more social in nature can survive in an environment which is more business, the combining of artistic freedom with the creation of an economically sustainable enterprise.

Past posts on this subject
The Power of Many! Music For All?

Troubadour Troubles - Economic, Legal, Moral? You Pick
Confusing Means and Ends and the Pathways Between Them
The Musician As Businessperson The Entrepreneur as Artisan