How do you build a new market in the Purpose Economy? How do you transformational change for the world while uncovering massive economic opportunities?
Technology is but one of five levers, including research and data, bright spots, public perception, and policy that can create markets in the Purpose Economy. Based on research, which was published in 2012 in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, market creation requires that at least three of these levers be deployed at different times or simultaneously. They are the ways you remove barriers to adoption of the changes you want to make.
Which levers are right for you?
Bright spots, or positive deviants, are examples of usually small-scale efforts that have achieved a remarkable result. They point to the possibility that something better is possible and create a starting place for thinking about replication, and how to build or expand a market. For example, in 1994, Alice Waters, a famed chef in the Bay Area, worked with a local school to create a garden for students. They called it an “edible schoolyard,” and it helped to inspire the growth of the market for healthy schools. Her bright spot appealed to the hyper-progressive innovators in Berkeley, but it also provided a proof point that caught the attention of early adopters, who began to develop visions for how to expand the market nationally.
Research is most often a tool to help create incremental shifts in a field, but it can also become a much more powerful lever. In the context of the Purpose Economy, research can provide insights that inspire entrepreneurs to pursue markets as innovators. And, given that the Purpose Economy isn’t only about the bottom line, research often defines how to measure non-financial success. In this context, new research that changes how you think about success in a market can fundamentally shift the entire market. As consumers, we see this all the time in new medical research that changes our understanding of what foods we should be eating more or less of.
Disruptive technology can include everything from new medicine to mobile applications. Like bright spots, it changes our understanding of what is possible and gives markets new tools to advance their growth. The most disruptive technologies, such as the polio vaccine, can catalyze massive change. Information technology has certainly been doing this, with examples popping up all the time, from classics like WebMD to mobile applications that help organize responses to disasters.
People are unlikely to join a market if they don’t know about it or have the wrong frame of mind about it. A great deal can be accomplished by changing public consciousness. For example, a series of health-related marketing campaigns by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has brought about dramatic changes in the largest city in the United States, such as the ban on indoor smoking, and has led to the adoption of similar laws in other cities and countries.
When you change policy, which most often means changing public policy, you change the rules of the market. Companies and special interest groups know the power of changing laws and government buying behavior in a market. Changes in corporate policies can also have significant impact. Many companies have such a large footprint that when they change their purchasing or hiring policies, for example, they can quickly move a market forward.
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