1. Connected communities are driving a new do-ocracy


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Connected communities are driving a new do-ocracy

The do-it-yourself society

I wrote earlier about the game changers and how creative people no longer practice their hobbies in the private sphere but rather in networks and communities. The ‘maker culture’ is growing stronger and we see a growing ‘do-culture’ covering more and more areas in society.

Easy access to information about almost anything is fundamentally changing our possibilities to do things ourselves. For do-it-yourself (DIY) people, it is much easier to find information and much easier to link up with people who share the same interests. This, together with affordable technologies, tools and services are lowering the barriers to nearly a zero cost in many areas.

Another driving factor is that people feel the need to connect with the outcome of their work. It is hard to see the importance of creating yet another PowerPoint file when you can’t see the final result of your efforts.

How and where things are produced is also becoming important and many people have started producing and experimenting with their own productions. We have seen this in food preparation for some years now with sourdough baking, homemade sausages and advanced barbecuing as just a few examples of what people are doing.

The ‘maker culture’ is now reaching a critical mass. There are new hackerspaces starting every day with a lot of people engaging in millions of ongoing projects. All these communities are sharing information and have new sources for funding such as Kickstarter. Things that use to be really complex, and that only a couple of years ago could be done by big corporations or academic researchers, are now being done in a growing number of hackerspaces, meetups, basements, garages and lofts. Topics such as 3D printing, robotics and DNA projects are now common.

A couple of weeks ago I visited Hack Manhattan, a hackerspace in New York City, to get a feeling for the area. One of the members had built his own 3D printer and when I was there he printed gear wheels for a robot that would participate in a robot soccer league while other members had bee-keeping projects or were growing organic vegetables on rooftops.

All this everyday doing and all the passion it contains will affect the more traditional businesses and business structures. This mentality is likely to trickle down into big organizations. The DIY-approach stifles passive moaning and encourages workers to take a constructive stance in their working environment. This will make organizations less hierarchical in the future and help employees take greater responsibility for defining and completing their own tasks.

Written by Mikael Eriksson Björling

Mikael is an Ericsson Networked Society Evangelist and Director at the Networked Society Lab. His specialty is in understanding how new consumer behavior, emerging technologies and industry logics are shaping the future society, and he believes that we have great opportunities right now to shape a better world. Mikael joined Ericsson in 1998 and is based in Stockholm. You can follow him on Twitter at: @mikaeleb

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