Talk of the week: The co-founder of Avaaz about new ways of activism – and business


jeremy heimans
Jeremy Heimans, the co-founder of Avaaz which is a platform to launch and share political campaigns, shares in this lively talk

      • how the power balance in the world is shifting
      • what new power is and isn’t
      • what new power means for organizations and business and
      • how old power is pushing back.

How masses can change things

In the beginning of his talk, Heiman introduces Anna Hazare, a 77-year old Indian, as the most cutting-edge digital activist in the world today. Hazare used the power of mobile for his campaign against corruption in India: He garnered 80.000 text messages and 35 million (!) missed calls instead of just going on a hunger strike, and thus collected millions of contacts and made hundreds of thousands of people go out on the streets of India. This has been one of the largest coordinated actions in human history!

After Jeremy Heiman’s own fax campaign at the age of 12 wasn’t overwhelmingly successful, he started exploring other ways of activism. The political platform Avaaz now has 40 million members and one of his other projects, Purpose, is the home for technology-powered movements.

Heiman argues that not only tech has changed in the last 20 years: There has been a fundamental shift in the balance of power in the world. New power is the deployment of mass participation and peer coordination.

The activist names Italian blogger-turned-politician Beppe Grillo, Airbnb and Kickstarter as examples of new power. But we must keep in mind that new power isn’t inherently positive: It can also produce bad outcomes.

What are the values of this new power?

The biggest value of the new power is transparency, followed by participation and Do-It-Yourself. Once you get into this mindset, you want new power models in more aspects of you life – for example, use a lending platform like Prosper instead of going to the bank for a loan.

So, how do you use this new, institutional power without being institutionalized? Watch this talk to find out and also see what the co-founder of Avaaz has to say about Apple, Uber, Barack Obama, Edward Snowden and Occupy Wall Street!

Header image credits royalty free

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