So many problems evolve from businesses being designed with one goal - making money - for one stakeholder group - investors. Any other beneficiaries, like vendors, communities, government and employees, are incidental and targets of cost reduction. This sets up an antagonistic relationship between stakeholders, which too often leads to counter-productive predation and belligerence.
Businesses designed collaboratively to anticipate the salient needs of all stakeholders will provide clear motivation for all participants to cooperate for joint success. Yes, it can be extremely complicated but today's communication tools and design methodologies, especially Axiomatic Design, can make it all manageable.
In the 20th century, such shared challenges were traditionally tackled by managers of a single enterprise moving employees and vendors around like chess pieces. The future though will be about networked alliances of companies and individuals nimbly adapting (reconfiguring relationships) to business conditions and opportunities.
A tweet by Umair Haque (@umairh) got me thinking about the psychology and sociology of greed. Mr. Haque is a blogger on the Harvard Business Review and author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. His tweet was a disgusted response to an article in Rolling Stone magazine, The Real Housewives of Wall Street. The article points to increasing brazenness of Wall Street bankers as they skim off billions of dollars from U.S. federal bail out money. The appalling injustice can be summed up in the author’s description of the bail out program: "giving already stinking rich people gobs of money for no fucking reason at all."
Haque’s tweet asked, “Can someone please explain why Americans don't do anything about it?”
One response in particular hit a nerve: “A lot of people say "well, heck, in their position, I'd do the same."