The opening ceremony of the South American Business Forum 10th edition started with a welcome message by the Co-Directors, Florencia Ravenna and María Laura Varela, who congratulated the 103 selected students coming of 27 different countries because of their selection as participants of this Forum’s new edition. The acknowledgments were directed towards the speakers, Board of Trustees, Board of Members, team of juries, ambassadors, Blog Team, the 31 sponsors and 13 NGOs and finally to the SABF 2014 organizing team.
José Luis Roces, Chairmnan of the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA – Buenos Aires Technological Institute), took the stand to express some words related to Era of Collaboration, main topic of this conference edition. Mainly, he highlighted that collaboration is not an innovative concept, but something that always existed and that now, more than ever, we need it in order to be able to develop as society.
1st Plenary: Alexander Laszlo
Alexander Laszlo, Co-founder and President of Syntony Quest, was responsible of the first plenary session of the day. His presentation “From collective intelligence to collaborative action: the role of systemic change agents in an independent world”, can be summarized in one concept:** the individual has to be able to be individual and at the same time part of everything**. He has to be more than just himself.
Laszlo commented about the difference between growth and development, and stated that development is the possibility of doing more with less. He mentioned the new indexes that measure progress: “Genuine Progress Indicator”, “Gross National Hapiness Index”, “The Happy Planet Index” and “Civilization Level Index”. However, Laszlo asks himself: Is the world a better place? Do we have more leisure time? Do we have more control over things? Are developed nations more stable? Do people live better?
According to the speaker, the world changed the 1950’s model, where the autistic-type effective businesses were considered valuable, to a 1990’s model where the rule was the competitive business knowledge based in egocentrism. Finally, between 2000 and nowadays it has mutated to an evolved business knowledge. This means that today: “a human being is not trying to save the forest, but is part of the forest trying to save itself.”
We are moving towards a Syntony Community. How can you go from a crisis to an opportunity? We do it through the evolving learning.
2nd plenary: Rick Dow
Rick Dow shared his research on Collaborative Economics, a growing phenomenon that is changing the way we understand the economic system. Despite being a relatively new concept, Shared or Collaborative Economics has already expanded to various areas covering our needs: Objects (Ebay), Services (Task Rabbit), Transportation (Flightcar) Financing (Lending Club) and even our own homes (Airbnb).
It is important to understand the scope of this new phenomenon, because as he said, **Collaborative Economics is not a type of business but an **Economic Ecosystem, a system that prioritizes the principle of access over ownership: Why owning a car, if I can rent it for only 2 or 3 hours? In this new approach to economics, all that is useless, is a loss of value.
Dow does not only refer to future predictions. The collaborative economy is an event that has already gained significant magnitude, and continues to grow at exponential levels. For instance,** Airbnb is currently the largest network of rooms in the world**, has distributed 800,000 rooms in 190 countries, more than the InterContinental, which has 720,000 rooms in 100 countries).
When trying to understand why more and more people are joining this way of relating, what plays **the most important role are ethical values: **Sustainability, Community and Sharing. Undoubtedly, none of this could happen without the guiding principle of respect and trust, because, as suggested by Dow, “As the economy of the twentieth century was ruled by corporations, the economy of the twenty-first century will be governed by people.”