My good friend Chris Nel has been causing a rumpus over on Tom Peters Company Blog. Suggesting big corporations are doomed to mediocrity not due to size, but because of the inherent inability of "large" to generate a strong sense of common purpose in the organisation beyond making money for its stakeholders.
He says " I believe that we as humans search for a meaningful purpose in everything we do. We are at our very best when we find it. My simple business hypothesis is based on the fact that when humans are at their best (i.e., are purposeful) they run/work in extraordinarily successful businesses. So it turns out that the leader's primary job is not to be a clever strategist or a brilliant technician (let alone control freak) but to help people find a clear sense of purpose (not revenue targets!) in the work that they do. Profit will follow from this, not lead it."
Was thinking about this while researching the next report I'm doing for BBC Click. It will be about social lending. Zopa "No banks, no huge overheads, no bureaucracy — just people lending and borrowing with each other" seems to be doing some pretty cool stuff and many who said it was a flash in the pan are having to eat their words as the company has been in business for several years now. Imagine how much better it must be to help people borrow the money they want more simply, cheaply and less hassle.
Kiva is a slightly different model but I believe an exciting way to get people engaged in helping entrepreneurs in the developing world. I hope to be able to tell you more very soon.