20 big ideas for 2012



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Collaboration. It’s more than a buzz word or just our theme. We’ve been honored to have esteemed author Don Tapscott sharing his thoughts with us biweekly on this, as our global curator. But the theme of collaboration isn’t limited to Social Media Week 2012. We’re seeing it all around- in various industries and coming from other leading business thinkers, just like Don.

Don has recently released his first two posts (Part I and Part II) in a series of posts for Thomson Reuters on the major ideas taking shape for 2012- 20 major transformations. These are needed transformations; keeping us from making 2012 a disaster. These are based on his idea that the Industrial Age has passed and our structure for society and institutions must be built on new principles: collaboration, openness, sharing, interdependence and integrity.

1. Make the transformations required to avoid the 20-year slump.
Our global economy isn’t healthy, and many are concerned that the global economic crisis is only just beginning. As such, we must work together to avoid a prolonged economic slump. Businesses must fundamentally transform their models- including financial services, media, energy & transportation systems, and international corporations- to encompass cooperation and global problem solving. And this is possible because of the digital revolution. Individuals and society has a platform for coming together, acquiring knowledge and mobilizing. All to help transform our economy and society models.

2. Radical openness.
While it may have been forced, Wikileaks is changing the way governments are open with their citizens. Increasingly, more and more businesses and organizations are operating in what can be called a hyper-transparent world. This transformation of transparency will breed trust, innovation, collaboration and better performances.

3. Pulling the plug: making communication a right in the Digital Age.
2011 saw much political unrest. And when it dominated an area, many governments- local and national- considered shutting down online access. This only served to further mobilize the masses and activate those who may have been bystanders to now join the local movements. But governments will need to seriously consider when, how and what they consider shutting down and as a collective society deem what violates basic rights.

4. Take action to prevent a worldwide youth explosion
One demographic that is especially hard hit are the world’s youth. Disillusionment, frustration, and anger are common sentiments expressed at the prevalent unemployment, high cost of education and lack of progress- personally and within a society. But youth have more tools and ways in which to interact- making them a very powerful force that can lead a major transformation and find solutions to these sentiments.

5. Shift to new models of global problem-solving
There is growing sentiment that the more formal international systems are fundamentally failing in achieving our global goals in areas of the economy, climate, poverty and international relations. The changes that are being made in these areas are more often than not coming from new systems of networked and connected individuals, working together for that end goal.

6. The Arab seasons: Getting beyond wiki revolutions to democratic, secular governments
2011 saw a change in the revolution- how individuals mobilized, organized and gathered information. 2012 needs to move beyond the revolution to building democracies and changing the way we view governmental structures and reform.

7. As the Old Media collapse, improve how We inform ourselves as societies
Traditional media has had to change the way it functions, moving online and providing new outlets. And with this change, as a society, we need to transform the way we self-educate and gather information. Gone are the days of seeking out a single source, but with that challenge comes vast rewards as we have the ability to hear many more perspectives and gain even deeper and richer information and knowledge in a variety of areas.

8. Ending the government debt crisis: New models for cheaper, better government
With more and more mounting debts in countries around the globe, there has never been a time of greater need for reinventing government. In addition to transforming governments into democracies, there must be a reinvention in the way in which governments run and interact.

9. New models of regulation: The citizen regulator
With many financial sectors melting down, the idea of a traditional regulating force no longer seems effective. The topic of Don’s discussion for the Social Media Week community last week, citizens must be empowered and collaborate together to become the regulating force.

10. Kick-start job creation through entrepreneurship
Unemployment remains high. Attempts to create jobs are lackluster and ineffective. What is needed in this economic and political climate is a change in the way we do business. Entrepreneurship must return, and governments need to support this approach with supportive environments that increase access to the resources that start-ups and entrepreneurs need.

Don’s article highlights each of these points in more detail, and it’s a very thought-provoking read on how we as a global community can challenge ourselves to collaborate for change in each of these areas. What’s more, he provides guidance on how that can take place. Read Don’s first post and subsequent follow-up on Reuters and share your thoughts about the top transformations needed as we move into the new year.

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