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Emergent by Stephen Scott Johnson

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Chapter 4 From institutional to collective power

THE DESTABILISATION OF INSTITUTIONAL POWER AND emergence of collective power has become the conversation of our time. Today, open-source knowledge networks, self-publishers, autonomous producers and micro-entrepreneurs challenge the institutional mainstream in a context where value is co-created, open and distributed.

Those leading are political strategists, entrepreneurs, policy makers and master storytellers — as Geno Church, Greg Cordell, Robbin Phillips, and Spike Jones put it in Brains on Fire: Igniting Powerful, Sustainable, Word of Mouth Movements, the people who are a ‘self-perpetuating force for excitement, ideas, communication and growth’, who disrupt how we build brands, innovate products, and manage reputations.

As organisations evolve from traditional command-and-control hierarchies to agile and co-created ‘ecosystems’, corporate culture is becoming increasingly ‘unscripted’. In this new world, story is the connective tissue that creates vital context for engagement and advocacy.

Yet, survival takes more than hollow corporate storytelling and the voicing of pre-existing institutional demands that lack authenticity and gravitas.

Thousands of HR and business leaders across every country agree. As highlighted by Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2016 report, ‘Effective organisations today are built around highly empowered ...

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