"Welcome to the "Solution Economy" We're at a critical juncture in our global economy, with the siloed ways of the past (public vs. private) quickly fading. Instead, we are witnessing a step change in how society deals with its own problems-in which government acts as just one player among many, and entrepreneurship and innovation range freely across all sectors. Deloitte's William Eggers and Paul Macmillan illustrate this new operating model in the forthcoming book, The Solution Revolution. The authors show that over the past decade, a variety of new and important players have entered the societal problem solving arena, operating within what they call a "Solution Economy." These innovators are closing the widening gap between what governments provide and what citizens need-an approach that promises better results, lower costs, and the best hope we have for public innovation in an era of fiscal constraints and unmet needs. We're still in the early stages of the solution economy's development, but Eggers and Macmillan compellingly lay out the contours of the phenomenon, as well as its primary features, dynamics, and players. They provide advice to business, government, and the social sector on what they can do to strengthen and spread the larger revolution, both locally and globally. The Solution Revolution provides a fascinating preview of our economic future, a system where choice, sustainability, and more adaptive ecosystems offer all of us the ability to collaborate towards better solutions. "--
Does your town have a rather dismal home recycling rate? Instead of spending tax money on a recycling PR campaign, visit a site called Recyclebank. They have helped towns to double or triple their recycling rate in just a few months. Is downtown clogged with traffic? Instead of imposing some sort of downtown driving fee, consider a car-sharing service like ZipCar.
It is now possible to mobilize huge amounts of resources around societal problems, while the costs plummet. In this new solution economy, the exchange and creation of value (currencies) are happening in new ways. The new currency could be data, credits, reputation or social outcomes (like reduced sickness). There are also new ways to trade these new currencies. They range from prizes and challenges, to crowdfunding platforms, to two-sided markets (with no middleman), to arrangements that pay for success. Can the same system work for international issues, like human trafficking or providing inexpensive housing for India's poor?
How can government or business help to bring about a solution economy? Government can use their purchasing power to create demand, be open to other avenues to reach a desired outcome, open up public data, avoid over-regulating the solution economy and recognize social enterprises as a new kind of business. Business can help by looking at their operating procedures against social criteria, make a bold commitment, change their sourcing practices, and find a way to leverage that open data.
This is a really interesting book. Perhaps it will inspire others to find social needs that are not yet being met, and do something about it. The only bad part of this book is the lack of a list in the back of the websites mentioned in the book (there are quite a number of them). Aside from that, this book is very much worth reading, for businesses and individuals.