Making everyone part of the liberal elite - Comment & Profiles -

Countries, companies and banks need to engage people in the strategy debate, writes Brian Caplen.

The backlash against the 'liberal elite' which makes decisions remotely is in full swing. Populists are gaining power as a result and coming up with quick-fix solutions to complex problems. One pro-Brexit politician famously said that people had had enough of experts. But if there is one thing the Brexit debacle has proven beyond doubt, it is that complex issues require intense debate and careful consideration.

Can such a process involve ordinary people or does it have to be done by professionals? This is as much a concern of big organisations such as banks as it is of governments. Banks tend to take their big decisions in a boardroom huddle and then expect all their employees to fall in line. Yet these days when corporate governance is to the fore, wouldn’t it be easier to get buy-in if everyone was involved in the decision-making process?

Enter Australia’s Mindhive, which claims to be the “the world’s first crowdsourced consultancy, where our most pressing issues are solved by the power of many”. Founder and CEO Bruce Muirhead was a guest speaker at the Horasis global meeting in Portugal in April.

The thinking is that modern technology allows for the sourcing of thousands of ideas and comments (ie. unstructured data) without requiring a huge dedicated team to pull it all together into a sensible and usable output. With everyone connected, the debate can be engaged in by a multitude of different parties. Even if the final decision goes back to the senior management, at least everyone who participated can see the complex nature of the problem and so better understand why one course of action was favoured over another. With faith in governments and corporations at rock bottom, the crowdsourcing of ideas seems like a good way of both using the full resources of everyone and rebuilding trust.  

Brian Caplen is the editor of The Banker. Follow him on Twitter @BrianCaplen

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