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Monday 20 October 2014

Looking out for others

Here is an excellent and short TED talk by Simon Anholt, which explores the concept of 'good countries':

In this context 'good' refers to countries that look outward upon the surrounding world, seeking ways to help and support other peoples and countries. It does not mean countries that are good at looking inwards upon their internal landscapes, seeking ways to support and develop their own economies and standards of living.

Being good and supporting others enables a country to gain social capital that helps it form, develop and sustain mutually beneficial relationships with other countries. After all, with which would you rather do business? A country with a reputation for doing good, or a country with a reputation for self-interest?

But looking outward with the intention of doing good for others is not enough. A country that is serious about doing good for others needs to challenge its deeply held assumptions about how to do and achieve things effectively. This is because looking outwards and doing good for others inevitably involves collaboration, and collaboration reverses assumptions about how to be effective and successful.

This reversal is summed up by four principles that underpin the dynamics of the collaborative world:
  1. The more we keep the more we waste
  2. The more others take the more we gain and the less the cost the more the value  (These two ideas are so closely related that they effectively act as one principle.)
  3. The more we control the less we control
  4. The more we collaborate the more we come into conflict
I explain these principles and give examples of them in action here:

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