Thieves, pirates and social entrepreneurs

Thieves, pirates and social entrepreneurs

31.01.2014 Blog

“What do pirates, terrorists, computer hackers and inner city gangs have in common with Silicon Valley?”

It turns out that the two young ladies’ project entitled  ‘The Misfit Economy’ pays attention in Poland. An interesting paper  by Paulina Wajszczak on that project has been  just published on the Polish Social Economy website.

What’s common between pirates, hackers, mobsters and social entrepreneurs? It turns out that it is innovativeness and innovation.

Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips have travelled the length and breadth of the United States, India, South America, Africa and China talking with the heads of gangs, political dissidents, hackers, prisoners and other outsiders. They learn a lot from all those who are working illegally in the traditional system because there is no place for them. All those are misfit not because they are bad or the social environment is not honest. The main reason of their regrettable situation is that they are excluded because born in the slums of Mumbai or Nairobi or are living in the least secure districts of New York.

Alexa and Kyra suggest that those excluded and misfit  are a true inspiration for social and technical innovation in the world, and that the “formal” economy follows their inventions.

An important message of the “Misfit Economy” is to show how much the traditional, the official economy, can learn from the creators of shadow and black economies, e.g., in the field of management.

Firstly, criminal organizations involved in the illegal trade are creating a very flat management structure.

Secondly, any kind of formality are limited to a minimum. No one has time and money to waste on excess formal procedures. The low level of formality allows for quick, flexible adaptation to the changing realities.

Thirdly, observing contemporary gangs we will find that they are smaller and smaller, easier to manage and more flexible, and sensitive to change. They act more locally, creating a sort of social movements.

The fourth important lesson is: “Take your time, bustle and act“, because when you release, you cease to be creative and interesting. Search for new ideas for your business and give some space and freedom to your employees, they will creative as never before.

At the end,lesson number five: watch and learn from your enemy.