Friday, January 8, 2016

Building for Our Business, Building for Our Society

"If you are interested in building a business to make money, forget it, you won't. If you are interested in building a business to make a contribution to society, then let's talk." VC legend Arthur Rock.

More Than A Business

What we see in the picture above is business and society at odds. The auto industry, whose business model is predicated on selling units, needs to sell more units. Cities and regions, however, need less cars, as billions upon billions of dollars are already being spent on infrastructure to handle the increases that benefit the auto industry, but costs citizens and society in many ways. 
For the co-creating the future of regional auto transportation, the auto industry and cities are at odds. 

We are going to need much more than business as usual if we are going to design, develop and delivers the right buffet for choices for the consumer, that leaves them better of than they are now, cities better off than they are now, and the various players from the auto industry better off than they are now.

An Investment in We

According to a July 20 2015 paper from Barclays, Disruptive Mobility, it's possible we could see a 40% reduction in new vehicle sales.
There are two basic forces driving that forecast: the driverless auto, and platform ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft.
The problem with those models, from our point of view, is the profits (and job losses) go to Silicon Valley and Wall St.

While some believe it is a foregone conclusion that these tech giants have already won territory for the future of our auto-transportation, we believe differently.
Uber, Lyft, and Google may be making all the headlines right now, but boiling up from the surface are the technology enabled social movements that make it possible for our cities and their people to by the majority stakeholders in the future of our auto transportation future.

In Owning is the New Sharing Antonin Léonard, co-founder of the Paris-based network OuiShare, thinks there has t be a better way:
“Society needs a new narrative about the world,” Léonard thinks, “and that narrative has to be different from the one Uber is offering.”
I agree wholeheartedly. Community ownership of transportation (and other services) is more than just a new business model, it is about what kind of economics models with which we want to shape our future societies.

Furthermore, these are no longer abstract theories, as the New Zealand based social enterprise network Enspiral can attest to.

However, this is only the beginning. the blockchain, with people like those behind +Ethereum leading the way, community ownership will be empowered in much more robust ways. The blockchain technology is now where the internet was circa 1992 (approx) before Tim Berners-Lee gave us the WWW. This opens the door for an even further evolution of social-business models that can replace Uber, Spotify and AirBnB.

Fellow collaborators in this future, the good people at the Enlivening Edge, are seeing it the same way, as explored by Stefan Groendenal in Decentalized Autonomous Transportation Networks, and Reinventing Road Transportation Systems.

And this is just a snapshot of the social-ownership models and movements that are brewing.

+John Hagel , of Deloitte's Center For The Edge, in his most recent paper Capturing value in the evolving mobility ecosystem, explores the potential even more deeply, rising the concept of the trusted advisor.
Trust is the key term here, as in order to fully realize the benefits of future of transportation, the question of who owns the data, and how private and portable is your data is going to be central to all models and businesses.
More so:
The developer of such a horizontal OS platform would benefit from powerful network effects. The more participants that adopt this operating system, and the more products available on the platform, the more valuable that platform becomes. In the PC industry, this has become a key source of both value creation and value capture: While the rest of the industry fragments around more diverse product offerings, the providers of the OS platform tend to consolidate, giving them an advantaged position in an increasingly diverse ecosystem.
I believe strongly that it is crucial as citizens, communities and cities, that we maintain a majority stakeholder role, and not Wall St or Silicon Valley.

Insurance is a form of distributed resilience, and even here we see the field is moving rapidly to fulfil the needs of our new models, as Collin Thompson  (LinkedIn profile) digs into in his well crafted piece Insurance, The Blockchain, and The Sharing Economy: Re-Imagining InsuranceTech with P2P Social Insurance Networks on the Blockchain.

Again, this is a mere snapshot of the brainpower and investments being made in the fundamentals necessary for a peer-to-peer community ownership structure.

Where Do We Start?

In the Glia Model, I am proposing to find twelve (give or take) cities, in both North America and Europe, to join into a pilot program to develop the models, platforms and talent networks and vendor ecosystems. It's possible each city might develop a slightly different model, depending on their own needs and culture. What's important is we share what we learn, and co-develop the necessary resilient networks.
In the last five years, I've developed an impressive network of people and knowledge necessary to "designing, developing, and delivering" these advanced models and platforms, but it will be the "Gravity" we create by binding together that will attract the next phase of necessary resources, like financial, intellectual, and social capital.

My vision is to get each of the city-nodes of the greater network to each develop their own "Smart Capital" crowd-funded backers (we'll be using FrontFundr here in Vancouver), and in tandem to bring in the social capital that can get the public bodies of each city to be on board.

Collectively, we can become a powerful force that can shape the economic and transportation future of our cities, and ensure that it is the cities and its citizen that reap the rewards.