The New Power Of Mass Participation

A new power is seen on the rise that can be mobilized to solve some of the major challenges in the world. This new power is based on distributed, crowd-sourced models, such as Airbnb, Uber, or Kickstarter which has raised over a billion dollars from more than five million people.

A veteran online activist Jeremy Heimans cofounded Avaaz, which uses Internet to mobilize people and has over 40 million members (you can start your petition here).  He also started Purpose, which is a home for these kinds of technology-powered movements.

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Jeremy argues that in the last 20 years something more fundamental has changed than just new tech, which is a fundamental shift in the balance of power in the world, from the old to the new power.

The new power deploys mass participation and peer coordination, two key elements for creating change and shifting outcomes. This power is not held by a few, but is made by many and “tends to embolden you and make you want more participation across more aspects of your life. And what this gives rise to is a set of values.”

The new power values transparency, believing that shedding light on something makes it better. It values participation and do-it-yourself action.

Jeremy believes that “we have major structural problems in the world today that could benefit enormously from the kinds of mass participation and peer coordination that these new power players know so well how to generate. And we badly need them to turn their energies and their power to big, what economists might call public goods problems, that are often beyond markets where investors can easily be found. And I think if we can do that, we might be able to fundamentally change not only human beings’ sense of their own agency and power —because I think that’s the most wonderful thing about new power, is that people feel more powerful — but we might also be able to change the way we relate to each other and the way we relate to authority and institutions.”

You can be inspired by Jeremy’s talk about the power of mass participation and peer coordination at this TED Conference:

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