Betterness

Over the Christmas break, I read Umair Haque‘s new book, Betterness. It’s one of the most clear articulations of the way I believe economics and all organisations should function that I’ve come across. Available only as an ebook, just 64 pages in length and at less than US$3, it’s a bargain available through Amazon and direct from HBR.

Not an anti-business screed, Haque is perfectly happy for us all to make money. But what else is there? Where is the real, tangible, actual good for humanity in the way we do things?

He proposes we take a eudaimonic approach to our businesses, seeking to add to a Common Wealth where our work produces the eponymous betterness in what we do. He articulates how this change can be wrought by arguing powerfully, with concrete examples of how businesses and organisations go “… from business to betterness means going from vision, mission, strategy, and objectives to ambition, intention, constraints, and imperatives.”

He wants our organisations to evolve such that “… the organizational mind make[s] an evolutionary leap: ambition, intention, constraints, and imperatives supplant vision, mission, strategy, and objectives as the cognitive building blocks that judge, weigh, and guide human effort.”

Betterness and Haque’s vision of changed business have made me sit down and articulate how acidlabs will behave in a world where we conduct “betterness” instead. So too, I will evaluate who I do business with based on their (intentional or otherwise) moves to betterness.

The video below shows an interview between Umair Haque and Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC. It’s worth watching.

How are you doing “betterness”?

BarCamp Sydney #4 – Saturday, 15 November 2008

The (un)organisers of BarCamp Sydney have let me know that they are preparing for yet another festival of creativity to engage and excite the Australian tech and innovation community. Details below.

Date: 15 November 2008

Venue: UNSW Roundhouse

Time: 9:00AM-5:00PMpm (registration starts at 8:30AM)

Register: Do it yourself on the wiki

If you’ve never been to a BarCamp before, I highly recommend it. Make some time in your schedule. For those that have been before, I needn’t remind you how great BarCamp is. Take a look at my tag list below to see just how much of your life this might touch.

Hopefully, I’ll see you there. I’m not sure how my timetable is yet.