New Power

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We can see the power of distributed, crowd-sourced business models every day — witness Uber, Kickstarter, Airbnb. But veteran online activist Jeremy Heimans asks: When does that kind of “new power” start to work in politics? His surprising answer: Sooner than you think. It’s a bold argument about the future of politics and power; watch and see if you agree.

Jeremy Haimans

Jeremy Heimans has been building movements since childhood, when he ran precocious fax campaigns on issues such as environmental conservation and third world debt in his native Australia. A former McKinsey strategy consultant, he has co-founded several online campaign groups and citizen activism initiatives, including GetUp (an Australian political movement with more members than Australia's political parties combined), Avaaz (an online political movement with more than 15 million members) and AllOut (a global movement for LGBT people and their straight friends and family). Now based in New York, Heimans is co-founder and CEO of Purpose, an incubator of social movements and ventures that he says, “uses the power of participation to bring change in the world.” He and colleague Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday, will be publishing an essay later this year examining new forms of power and their meaning. As Heimans puts it, “Old power downloads and commands; new power uploads and shares.” The World Economic Forum at Davos named Heimans a Young Global Leader and in 2011 he was awarded the Ford Foundation's 75th Anniversary Visionary Award. In 2012, Fast Company named him one of the Most Creative People in Business.

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