Alex Steffen at Picnic’07: “Good companies tell their bad stories”
September 27th, 2007

One of the featured speakers at PICNIC’07 in Amsterdam was Alex Steffen, CEO and co-founder of Worldchanging, author of ‘A User’s Guide for the 21st Century’.

Alex Steffen at Picnic’07

Steffens call to us as consumers was to change our thinking about ownership. He encouraged the audience to “imagine what happens when we share tools” “Consider to share a car, a power drill or whatever”. He promised that “with different things we can build more sustaineable lives that are more fun”.

After Alex PICNIC presentation Smartmobs had a chance to talk to him. We asked him in particular to tell us how his worldview relates to smartmobbie thinking.

The green revolution moves online, said Worldchanging’s Steffen earlier in the San Francisco Gate. He believes that the green blogosphere is filling a gap in mainstream media. Alex: “Just think of what happens when information spreads and starts running?”

Todays call for transparency is very much fueled by modern means of communications technology”. “You can not shut down all the nodes of the net. Politicians have to realize that in the long run all truth prevails. They will be made accounteable. “Good companies tell their bad stories”. “See how companies in this world are opening up their books.” Neither can politici ans go on taking decisions that benefit just a few”.

In his presentation Alex quoted William Gibson stating that “It is becoming unprecedentedly difficult for anyone, anyone at all, to keep a secret”.
Alex: “In the age of the leak and the blog, of evidence extraction and link discovery, truths will either out or be outed, later if not sooner. This is something I would bring to the attention of every diplomat, politician and corporate leader: the future, eventually, will find you out. The future, wielding unimaginable tools of transparency, will have its way with you. In the end, you will be seen to have done that which you did”.
It is likely to happen that “people who do bad and secret things will have to go underground more and more”, said Steffen to Smartmobs.

Referring to what he called moral bankruptcy, Steffen also referred to revealed pictures of the Iraq War.

Alex recent book focuses on simple and complex innovations that could solve global crisis. In a practical way he shows how socially conscious companies and movements can save the world.

Our final question to Alex Steffen was how his views on innovation relate to the Third World?

Here Alex pointed to the use of cellphones in Africa where it is spreading as the only kind of communication that everyone is using. The usage patterns in that part of the world may seem strange to us. Cellphone minutes are being used there as currency. This would make no sense in the US or in Europe, but in Africa it does.

Smartmobs readers may be interested in what Experientia’s ‘Putting People First’ blogged on this mobile revolution that is taking place in Africa.

also read how Alex inspired the PICNIC crowd and see “why Pleading isn’t working. No amount of recycling will get us to sustainability.”

Complete Picnic ’07 Video Archiv

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