Blogging Highlights: Occupy and Boost Revolution

This week, we recommend articles that touch upon organizational miscues and what they can learn from each other and a ‘Boost’ to business models.

The Occupy movement could have learned a thing or two from the Civil Rights Movement (CRM):  The Occupy movement, with all its zeal and popularity, allegedly had vague goals, little political buy in and an undefined end game strategy.   The CRM, in contrast, did have defined goals including equality in education, with strong political support to achieve racial equality.  Essentially the CRM, according to orgtheory.net ‘s article did the occupy movement reject the civil rights movement? “was… highly bureaucratic in that they set a vast apparatus (the SCLC) to collect funds, conduct litigation, and distribute resources.”  The CRM adopted a structured organizational model that served them well, whereas the Occupy movement deliberately chose to be fragmented and decentralized; perhaps to their detriment.

The Boost Revolution: What would happen if a company shared ideas with its competitors, explained its strategic thought processes on social media and gave away certain services and products?  According to C.V. Harquail, this is a recipe for success.  In her TED talk and on her blog , she explains the profitable virtues of becoming a Boost company, which are based on three principles: 1. Boost relationships by turning competitors into partners through a shared community of commerce. 2.  Boost skills by ‘working through problems out load’ on social media to share problems and solutions.  3. Boost products through ‘compound gifting’ by giving away certain products and features.  Sounds strange?  Maybe, but as she points out it has worked for many companies including Etsy, Dropbox, and AirBnB.

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4 thoughts on “Blogging Highlights: Occupy and Boost Revolution

  1. Hi All-
    Thanks so much for highlighting my Tedx talk and research on The Boost Revolution. As Sabine suggests, there is a link between the ideas of social movements and the criteria of ‘the business world’ — we too often forget that all of our ideas and criteria of what makes good/effective business are social constructions, and that current notions of business are the result of a social movement to promote individualistic, competitive Capitalism.

    In some of my other writing I’m arguing that it’s precisely the increasing overlap of social movements, economic trends, and technology developments that make Boosting (aka building your business while/by creating opportunities for others) not only possible, but also preferable. L-D Dad, I’d love your thoughts on whether the Boost Revolution ideas feel compelling, and any recommendations on how to strengthen them. Come over to authenticorganizations.com and tell me? cvh

  2. One way to think about the juxtaposition of these two ideas together–Occupy and Boost– is that there are many choices and approaches when it comes to creating change or getting ideas out there….what academics call the diffusion of innovation. So, it makes me wonder if there’s a bit of a contradiction, or notable contrast as Sabine notes, here. In the case of Occupy, Jon suggests that a new approach to organizing is less wise or effective than an old highly bureaucratic and hierarchical type of organizing. Yet, in the case of Boost, he suggests that we move beyond an old paradigm and do something quite new. So, it raises questions about when and why should we stick to old models and when should we adapt them or abandon them altogether? I don’t have a tidy answer to this question, but introducing these two ideas in unison, begs the question. Before I weigh in with provisional thoughts I’d love to hear if others have thoughts about this.

  3. It would be helpful if this post offered a bit of explanation on the Boost concept — for those reading from outside a direct frame of reference.

    (And Occupy was one of the biggest wasted opportunities in socio-political history. The Tea Party is now influencing government, and Occupy is a vague, kumbayah footnote. Ridiculous.)

  4. Hi Jon, these are stimulating blogging highlights, which show how two contrasting approaches – ideals of social movements and criteria of the business world – can meet to promote organisational change!

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