The Social Base of Competition

We are at a tipping point – technology has enabled us to shift our focus to organizational processes as the source of improvements for our corporate, regional and national competitive goals.

What’s happening is that online tools from social networks, to blogs, wikis and presence tools like Skype and IM are erasing geographic and temporal boundaries. At the same time these tools are enabling physical events like BarCamp to be easily and cheaply organized, making it possible for people to meet and discover shared interests and opportunities.

Inevitably what happens is new visions of what is possible takes hold. Look no further than the Leeds UK tech sector that is being redefined from the ground up. Here’s what Imran Ali had to say after their latest camp:

We had people from as far as Dundee and Brighton, but the greatest concentration came from Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and the North East; right along the M62 corridor, home to 15m Brits, a quarter of our country. Could we make this Supercity the next Highway 101…the Pennine Parallel? … We think we can …

That’s a pretty bold claim – except that it’s entirely possible – because vision, connection, and self-interest all combine to provide a powerful incentive and platform that encourages experimentation and growth.

Here in Canada we could use these tools as a basis for international competition, because our geography won’t allow tight physical connection that Leeds can, with 15M people within 2 hour of each other. The inklings of that are already with us as Alec Saunders points out when he contrasts US and Canadian adoption of FaceBook.

As individuals we are quick to jump on these tools and as Alec’s post shows that adoption is leading to organizational adoption in places like CATA. We need accelerate this – because these tools will alter the way organizations are structured and how information flows within and between them.

Our opportunity is to discover the organizational processes that let people develop a sense of group identity at distance and make them part of our legal and cultural framework. Initially this enables our companies and innovators to find, and work, with the local people, partners and technologies to create competitive technologies. Over time it enables more of our companies to do this throughout the world. A powerful strategic tool for a multi-cultural country as technology is making the world very flat.

In the mean time the opportunity is for BarCamp’s to connect and create opportunities that give participating companies a competitive advantage – because they already understand the social base of competition.

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One thought on “The Social Base of Competition

  1. Thanks Peter – I’d be happy to share our plans and how we’re going about energising the industry at the grassroots. Maybe by pooling these kinda best practices we can start to effect the kinds of change we’d like to see in the places we live and work 🙂

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