The United Nations Foundation works to support the UN in solving some of the world’s most urgent challenges, so it’s with great interest that I read Understanding “New Power,” Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms’ new piece in the Harvard Business Review on how organizations can be most effective in driving positive change.
The article is an insightful and thoughtful examination of how power is shifting in today’s world and how organizations can navigate the new landscape to help people. Here are three points the authors made that stood out to me:
1. “The nature of power is changing.” Heimans and Timms outline “new power,” where power is shared broadly, with transparency, engagement, and ownership by many. With the growth of social media and technology, more people than ever before are able to make their voices heard and play leading roles in solving problems.
2. “The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.”Timms and Heimans submit that we can grow our movements for change by empowering more people to be champions of global solutions. Instead of advocating on their behalf, we can help by raising awareness of issues, connecting them to solutions, and equipping them with the information they need to advocate for change.
3. Collaboration is a hallmark of new power. I am glad Heimans and Timms underline this basic – but important – point that can be easily overlooked. It is a proven principle that is key to any “new power” approach. Cooperation also brings more ideas, expertise, and resources to the table – helping us go farther and faster in reaching our goals.
Timms and Heimans are some of the brightest minds out there and valued partners. They have invested time and energy into this article as a way to spark dialogue and help all of us learn while we progress…and do it in a spirit of shared learning and partnership. I encourage you to read the whole piece here.