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Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

How Power Works In Our Hyperconnected World – and How To Make It Work For You

4.4 (18 ratings)
26 mins
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    New Power
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    Our access to power used to be restricted, but today’s digital connectivity has empowered us all.

    Before the twenty-first century, society was imagined as a giant machine. People were but cogs in this machine, playing small and standardized roles.

    This was a golden age for colossal corporations and sprawling bureaucracies – a time when companies hoarded power as though it were currency. They made decisions for those participating in their power systems, believing they knew what was best. Such an attitude typified old power.

    Meanwhile, the participants in the system filled static, stereotypical roles and obeyed the system’s commands: Do your multiplication tables. Say your prayers. Buy this product.

    In short, chances to meaningfully participate in any role – civic, political or economic – were scarce.

    But times have changed.

    Hyperconnected technology has been a battering ram, unlocking digital doors and lowering the barriers of participating in almost any given activity. And this increase in the horizontality of power distribution is changing our behavior.

    For example, the logistics of organization and participation are now unconstrained by space or time. This lets, say, artists from Ireland and India collaborate together, in real time and for free.

    Added to that, we now have the tools to easily meet other like-minded people, lobby for change and organize resistance.

    And these behaviors have also altered our attitudes. We’re no longer satisfied with merely observing or agreeing; we demand a right to participate.

    Letitia Browne-James perfectly embodies this new attitude. A lifetime epileptic, Browne-James had all but had it with her neurologist and the ineffective medication she was prescribing. Then she stumbled across PatientsLikeMe – an online community of thousands of patients sharing experiences, recommendations and personal medical data.

    Through the platform, she discovered that brain surgery is an effective treatment for epilepsy. In fact, 83 percent of PatientsLikeMe users reported positive results from it. Her doctor had never discussed this option with her, so Browne-James changed physicians.  

    In the end, she underwent the surgery, and it’s now been five years since she’s had a seizure. By using PatientsLikeMe to take control of her health care, Browne-James used new power.

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    What is New Power about?

    New Power (2018) maps out the changing power dynamics of the twenty-first century. Digital technology and ubiquitous connectivity have exploded, altering the very nature of power itself – how it functions, how it’s won and how it’s held. Heimans and Timms explain who’s using this to their advantage, who isn’t and what these new forms of power mean for you.

    Who should read New Power?

    • Anyone interested in society’s changing power relations
    • People who wish to understand the power of digital crowds
    • Leaders and entrepreneurs looking to start a movement

    About the Author

    Jeremy Heimans is an Australian entrepreneur, political activist and CEO of Purpose, a company that builds and supports movements for various businesses, organizations and philanthropies.

    Henry Timms is the CEO of 92nd Street Y, a famous cultural center focusing on civic engagement, and a cofounder of #GivingTuesday, a philanthropic movement.

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