I write this post in English as the Davos one-minute-video competition issue is far beyond the borders of my country. I submitted my video last week and had many discussions since then about the idea I suggested. But when I got questions from the Reuters I somehow understood the Davos video competition has a bit major importance I thought before they called.
The discussions regarding my idea (I wouldn’t describe it as an idea as there’s nothing new in it – will explain later) mainly held in Facebook and Skype as well as in almost any private conversation with the people I met last week. The questions addressed to me are repeating so I decided to create and update FAQ in order to make my communication more effective. I don’t want to waste one more week behaving like fireman when things can be systematized so I could focus on the other things.
Feel free to quote any of my statement bellow or in the comments.
How was the voting?
Well, it was really fun. Davos Forum organizers made a great viral marketing collecting all videos in one place at http://www.youtube.com/davos and allowing people to vote for or against. It attracted many people as participants tried to consolidate their supporters or find new ones.
My country, I mean politicians, didn’t receive official invitation to attend the Davos Forum this year. As far as I was the only Lithuanian in that video competition it meant in case of victory we (Lithuania) would jump into the leaving train. This opportunity consolidated Lithuanians who started call to vote their friends from the moment I uploaded the video and announced this in the blog.
And so we took a lead. And kept the leading position by Wednesday (Jan 12) night. Then Shawn, a volunteer from Canada, submitted his video (his idea was to decrease digital divide with free distribution of cell phones to people in poor countries) and started the race. Very fun race.
When Lithuanians saw Shawn coming after, they accelerated but soon failed as it was night time in my country, some 01:00. (Jan 13). It was daytime in Canada.
When I woke up Thursday morning, the result was some -100 votes. And then Lithuanians came to their offices and opened Facebook… You should have seen this: the score changed like in the basketball game. -50, -30, -14, -7. In some two hours time we cought up and outran. While Canada sleeps…
But night never lasts forever. Canadians take a bath, open their notebooks or cell phones, and read (took from Shawn’s twitter page):
reese015 Guys, PLEASE vote for @uncultured here:http://www.youtube.com/davos – it’d be amazing to send him to Davos & he’s only 60 votes behind atm!Thu Jan 13 2011 14:45:18 (EET) via TweetDeckRetweeted by uncultured and 7 others
Shawn has 270.000 Twitter followers and it worked. Tweets, retweets and retweets. Well, I also received support from one of the most followed Lithuanian Twitter user Karolis Pocius, who has 766 followers. But that was different weight category. Note, only registered Youtube users were allowed to vote. It was really nice to see how Lithuanians in one Facebook group which unites basketball fans cought virus of the race. Guess, everyone enjoyed. Some discovered a hero in me, some said we were as strong as 20 years ago (Jan 13, 1991, exactly 20 years ago, Soviet tanks failed to pull down Lithuanian government as unarmed people died to show the world we better die then refuse the Independency).
We lost with the final score some 750:1500. I slept when Davos stopped the voting and there’s no data left on their site.
But should we care about the votes?
Do we really think something really important can be decided in such marketing shows? Can internet democracy make the world better?
Let me explain, why I think it should not.
I’m a democrat, of course. But democracy never makes people happy if we apply a majority power principle only. If the desicion is taken in support of 51:49, how many people be unhappy? Half. How much is worth the decision which leaves half of the people in trouble?
But it’s not a problem of democracy. It’s a problem of compromise. Compromise always leaves someone unhappy. And very often – all parties. Because none of them is fully satisfied with the solution.
So if the idea has many active supporters it does not mean that idea is the one which needs to be focused at. Of course, if you’re politician and elections are coming next week so you better tell those activists something they want to hear. They want higher salaries, so promise them. That will be a compromise because you have to take money from someone else to keep your promise given to the crowd.
If we – country, where basketball is the second religion – can take the second place in the global voting, can you imagine what happened if a guy from FC Barcelona fan club applied to Davos?
So when crowd requests something, the leader should always check what will be the impact for the main goal. Real leaders usually have them.
Now Shawn and all his community keep fingers crossed their votes to be noted by Davos commission. In Lithuania nobody does. Because internet voting is a game, but serious decisions (like how make people happy in short period of time) are based on analysis, not a computer-social-game. So fingers, crossed or clench, won’t help.
I don’t trust the race. I trust the process.
How did I like Shawn’s video?
It’s great. The work that Shawn does in Bangladesh is absolutely amazing. Red Cross, Save the Children are the brands of people humanity and it’s fantastic there’re such persons who devote their life to help other people.
Shawn suggested to distribute cell phones as wide as possible in poor countries like Bangladesh and so decrease digital divide:
One of the things I’ve learned is that it’s extremely easy to demonstrate the power of social media to connect people. Once they get it, rich or poor, things take-off themselves.
Well, I disagree. Ability to communicate ‘everyone-to-everyone’ is not the solution for the poor people because it does not fight the root problem – very low economic competitiveness. Furthermore, technology can bring benefits if and only if it diminishes a limitation. What limitation is diminished if we distribute cell phones? The answer – people to people communication. How did countries in Western World (big and small countries) succeed to build strong economies many years before cell phones, twitters and all this social-media stuff appeared? If the rules are not changed, any technology is just a nice-to-have-tool.
My country – Lithuania – has the highest fiber optic penetration in Europe. People living here have ~1,4 cell phones each in average. So what??!! Thanks to Romania and Bulgaria, who joined EU recently, we’re now not the last in terms of competitiveness.
Next, I agree it’s very important to give ability to people to communicate and educate via internet. But none of kids who take my iPhone launches Wikipedia, instead they all search for game apps to enjoy the touch-tool. Do we think that when we give opportunity for the poor to tell their stories we would get more chances to help them? In businesses this issue is called ‘we need more data’. Do we? If the root problem is clear, the overdata is just an element of defocusing. By the way Twitter, Facebook as well. So if we spread cell phones for the poor and if they start communicate their daily life and struggles, we will get more data but nothing else what could get us closer to the solution.
Note, that only actions can make changes, not talks or conversations.
When I consult businesses I always search and fight the root causes, not consequences. Doing other things is waste of time as no or very low impact will be gained. Waste of time means waste of limited resources. The world leaders are very expensive resources. And if they start wasting their time fighting consequences, the damage for the global economy will be catastrophic. The help can be two types: blow out the fire or implement systematic changes that would reduce the fire risks. Charities mostly focus on the first type, which is absolutely necessary when fire flames. But world leaders if they really want better world should focus on systematic changes. That is exactly what I talk in my representing idea.
And, to close this topic, I’m sure Shawn won’t be invited to Davos this year as he failed last 3 or 4 years. Because it’s impossible to achieve different (better) result if doing the same. If you want different result, the action (or idea, in particular) should be different if compared to previous attempts.
Why did I take these measurements, not others?
Let me remind You the description of the idea:
Before heading to the solution, let’s agree on the root problem that is faced by any country in the world.
It’s a fact that institutions, even governments, as well as people behave in the way they are measured. What means the right measurements are the necessary condition to rapid growth and people happiness.
There’re three main areas that countries should focus on.
In the Education:
– The growth of the creation of added value
– The increase of salaries (what means return on investment into education)
In the Healthcare:
– The Lenght of life
– The Working age (what means how longer we live and how longer we’re able to work)
In the Economy:
– The amount of jobs
– Added value per employee (how many people got employeed and how much increased the value we created)
Using those measurements any country should set specific targets (in numbers) due to their current situation and ambitions. All the outgoing strategies of the governmental institutions should be subordinated to the country targets set. The targets should be publicly announced and publicly evaluated.
The leaders should focus on them, track the performance on the regular basis.
The measurements above are not taken from the dream. Me and my great friend and co-blogger Nerius have worked on this the whole day. A year ago. In the beginning we decided that the goal of ANY COUNTRY should be ‘people happiness’. If so, in order to reach the goal, it must be evaluated. Thus we started to check possible measurements.
It is widely accepted that GDP is not a right measurement to determine the status of people happiness. To make the search easier we went through the process. We put down all possible measurements from all spheres of governmental regulation: international affairs, culture, education, justice, healthcare, economy, environment, etc. And then connected all those measurements with cause and effect arrows. We, processists, trust that any system is a connection of cause and effect relations. Some problem impacts other, and is impact by another. Some problem is a consequence of some other problem.
Again, there’s no point to impact the consequence as it gives no result and does not solves the root cause of the system.
And so we came to the root measurements that now are described in the idea.
I always use this method when start new consulting project in the environment that I’m unfamiliar with. It helped me many times and there were no doubts why this method of thinking should fail when analyzing so much sophisticated system like government.
How did the idea come to my mind?
In 2009 there was a competition provided in my country, called “Present your vision to Lithuania”. In our blog we aften criticize our politicians and our visitors insisted we to suggest something, not only criticize. And that was a push. We met with Nerius and discussed all this. Then I spent the next day verbalizing the analysis we did a day before. Nerius is much more experienced TOC consultant, but I have a bit better writing skills so far, thus it so happend I took the flag.
When I found out about the Davos video competition, I just needed to film the resume of the vision we made a year ago. By the way, our vision didn’t win that 2009 competition.
Is my idea new?
Absolutely not! We just systematized things that make headaches for many people in the world.
I think, the problem is when we seek for something new thinking, that only new – never heard – ideas can change the world (actually, new ideas really change the world but can we say that those changes somehow help decrease social divide?). Can we agree that sophisticated systems are difficult to change? If so, can we agree that there’s a huge rate of fail in some stage of implementation? And what then? – New vision! HA aha ha.
We do not cross the difficult stage and instead create something new. Loose the direction. It was not wrong, it was just difficult. But we changed the direction.
There’s a joke illustrating this. John is looking for the keys that he lost. Marry joins to help him search. In twenty minutes of unsuccessful search Marry asks: “Do You really lost the key here?”. John replies: “No, I lost them there”, and points to the furthest corner of the hall. “So then why we’re searching here?”. “Because there’s more light”.
Is my English ‘sucks’?
There was such statement in youtube comments. I answered that if English was the main criteria, we should invite all American or British people to participate in the discussion despite their ideas. Should we? I can also speak fluent Russian, that is my second foreign language. And, of course, Lithuanian, which is one of the oldest languages in the world.
Still we don’t have articles (a, the) in Lithuanian language, so most of us don’t know when to put them and when avoid. It should be visible from this text as well.
By the way, my poor vocabulary turns me to simplify the presentation and it becomes easier understandable to non-English speaking nations. In the communication process the person with bad skills is the constraint. What means if another, for example, English native speaker says something very complex, the result will be limited by the abilities of the not so cool audience. So the simpler one speaks, the bigger is possible global audience.