Hacking the Future

My optimism was once again hijacked this week by the recent announcements of economic misery. Now all respectable analysts forecast our local economy is shrinking by an average of 0,5% in 2014. The outlook for 2015 is also bleak –To make things even worse, the situation in Ukraine and Putin’s crusade is rattling EU as a whole and there seems to be quick resolution in sight.

Especially in times when global economy and global politics amplify (or ignite) local economic discouragement and despair, media has an overabundance material to publish. Bad news sells, good news does not – so it seems.

When stepping away from the corporate world to run a small/mid-size company, I have encountered several phenomena which cause increasing indigestion. Most of them have been around for as long as there have been enterprises and buyer-seller dynamics. And most likely, some of the readers of this blog will condemn me naïve and declare I’m wasting my breath by complaining about the laws of market economy.

There is a lot of talk about entrepreneurism as the new fuel to drive economic growth. This seems logical since there are no visible growth ingredients in conventional businesses and macro-economic growth is at a standstill. Alan Moore re-thought the industrial mindset in his book: No Straight Lines – Making Sense of Our Non-Linear World. One of the thoughts I liked in particular was the idea of hacking the future. The etymology goes back to the computer world, but in this context it exploring new ways of dealing with significant challenges is a key aspect of moving towards building better societies, organizations and economies – “to be part of the future, you have to create it”. Interestingly enough, Writer Cole Stryker also uses the same term but in a different context of internet phenomena.

We have to take initiative. Those who sit back and wait for better times, are tomorrow’s losers. Today’s initiative is transformation, but we cannot do it alone and this why the thesis of hacking is interesting. Hackers resort to collective intelligence, collaboration and openness. The ability to solve problems rises exponentially with collective intelligence, co-creation and peer-to-peer entrepreneurial learning.

Today’s business environment is one where our long-term success is only possible when our customer’s succeed as well. We are thus in a symbiotic relationship with our customers and hence it is a mutual problem. We should work this out together. We should remove our buyer/seller capes and look at the problem together – as fellow hackers. Taking this thought even further, when business is sparse, should we invite the entire community to the table, also competition? Well, who genuienly wants to cuddle and collaborate with ones rivals? I dare to say, it might be worth trying.

I believe we should embrace the unthinkable and figure out a collective survival strategy. A fellow blogger talks about openness being the new oil (in finnish), takes my thought further than hacking the future would entail, but embraces the same principle. If we consider that we are stranded on the same island of despair – we being a given relevant business network – sharing the same objective of rescuing ourselves, we are forced to innovate together, using infinite minds and a finite amount of material to come up with the best solution together

Be realistic – imagine the impossible, says Alan Moore.

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Mika Tanner

Bilot Alumni