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“You’re looking at a generation of 20- and 30-year-olds who are used to self-organizing,”

NY Times:  "As Scorn for Vote Grows, Protests Surge Around Globe."

Political and financial institutions are seen as clueless at best, venal at worst.  A new generation vents their frustration through self-organizing, decentralized coalitions.  

Many health care strategists will read this article with a sense of detachment.  That's a mistake because, above all, successful strategists are trend-aware.  

So be aware of this:  

A trend driven by economic frustration and doubt about the future may start in the political arena, but that's seldom where it stops.

From the article:
"Increasingly, citizens of all ages, but particularly the young, are rejecting conventional structures like parties and trade unions in favor of a less hierarchical, more participatory system modeled in many ways on the culture of the Web.


"In that sense, the protest movements in democracies are not altogether unlike those that have rocked authoritarian governments this year, toppling longtime leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Protesters have created their own political space online that is chilly, sometimes openly hostile, toward traditional institutions of the elite.


"The critical mass of wiki and mapping tools, video and social networking sites, the communal news wire of Twitter and the ease of donations afforded by sites like PayPal makes coalitions of like-minded individuals instantly viable.


“You’re looking at a generation of 20- and 30-year-olds who are used to self-organizing,” said Yochai Benkler, a director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. “They believe life can be more participatory, more decentralized, less dependent on the traditional models of organization, either in the state or the big company. Those were the dominant ways of doing things in the industrial economy, and they aren’t anymore.”
What are health care's "dominant ways of doing things" and what happens when they aren't any more?  Do we adjust only when the bonds of trust are irrevocably gone and our customers are fed up with our crap?  For now, we in healthcare are seen as the good guys - expensive, but good.  For now...

UPDATE: In all the media coverage of Steve Jobs' passing, there's this from the NY Times: "What Steve Jobs Understood That Our Politicians Don't."
"After all, if you wanted to really get a picture of how the national culture has evolved in the last few decades, particularly in the urban areas that drive economic growth, you could do a lot worse than to study Apple’s string of innovations. (Steve) Jobs understood, intuitively, that Americans were breaking away from the last era’s large institutions and centralized decision-making, that technology would free them from traditional workplaces and the limits of a physical marketplace."

[...]

"And no politician wants to really innovate without focus groups, to make a sustained argument for any solution that might entail risk or imagination. Our parties are less like Apple and more like General Motors, churning out this year’s streamlined model of the same cars it was asking you to buy 20 years ago. Even the circuitry of the democracy remains essentially unchanged; a nation of voters who can find their cars and pay their mortgages online still can’t envision the day when they can cast their votes from an iPad."
Politicians aren't the only ones "not gettin' it."

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