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Social Networks and Innovation Banking

'Innovation and Growth, Chasing a New Frontier' book launch(2)The real estate market is trashed, money markets are unstable, commodities are in the tank, the banking system is corrupted to the core, inflation is looming around every corner, and the politicians are engorging themselves in a game of Gridlock.

There is no safe place to put your money

Instead, people are investing their productivity in social media – social media is simply a storage device for knowledge assets. Soon it will become a stock exchange for knowledge assets. Investors should not take this lightly – the best place to store your money is in the real productivity of real people.

People are trading knowledge assets in social media

This exchange is denominated in social currency. If we mimic the structure of the Financial System with the emerging structure of Social Value Systems, we see a huge opportunity to develop an alternate financial system that can capitalize and securitize knowledge assets in social media.

Music by Phil Felicia

Community Currency Systems

MAC2Community Currency Systems are not new, in fact, they preceded the current financial system by, say, 50,000 years. The focus of this blog resource is to investigate all currencies and reflect them upon the image of a vast new technological breakthrough called social media.

Our hope is to discover, specify, and influence the formation a new financial system that allows communities to trade among each other for basic goods and services before, during, and after the “reboot” of our current economic system.  We are optimistic that the current economic system will ebb in favor of a next economic paradigm that reflects social priorities as a means of meeting Wall Street Priorities. We’ll be posting several articles on the subject in the coming days.

Here are some of the earlier resources to get you started on local currency and other aspects of community economics.  I like the early systems because their rationale was independent of more recent influencers such as 9/11, TARP, GWB, etc.

Collateralized Innovation Obligations

Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) are a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets. In the case of the current financial crisis, the underlying assets were home mortgages.  It is not necessary for the CDO buyer or seller to know who lives in the home and what they produce; the asset is a contract backed by future productivity.

CDOs vary in structure and underlying assets, but the basic principle is the same. To create a CDO, a corporate entity is constructed to hold contracts as collateral and to sell packages of predictable future cash flows to investors.  The more money handed out in home loans, the more money could be collected in CDOs

You are a liability.

While corporate leaders proclaim that people are the greatest asset, corporate accounting practices specify otherwise.  Employees are an expense and their salaries, benefits, and pensions are liabilities to be reduced any time the opportunity arises.  So what’s the problem?  Liabilities can’t innovate.

Suppose for a moment that people were in fact an asset on the accounting sheet and their salaries, benefits, and pensions were “investments”.

Collateralized Innovation Obligation (CIO):

The CIO would obviously be a type of structured asset-backed security (ABS) whose value and payments are derived from a portfolio of fixed-income underlying assets, specifically, the output of productive and motivated people.

Like the CDO, a CIO would vary in structure and underlying assets, but the basic principle is the same. To create a CIO, a corporate entity is constructed to hold assets as collateral and to sell predicted future cash flows to investors.  It is not necessary for the CIO buyer or seller to know who is innovating or what they are producing; the asset is a contract backed by future changes in productivity. The more money handed out in innovation loans, the more money could be collected in CIOs.  For all practical purposes, we could call it an Innovation Bond.

Enter Social Media:

Social media is teaching us an important lesson about innovation.  Every time you get a diverse group of people together to share ideas, new ideas form.  Every idea is useful as long as it is shared; thousands of bad ideas must expire before the good one appears.  Conversational currency is the vetting mechanism of all ideas.  While not every good idea becomes a great invention, every great invention is built from good ideas.  Machines cannot produce ideas and no single company, country or person holds a monopoly on ideas.  Innovation and the creation of all wealth arise from the social, creative, and intellectual interaction of people.

Conversational Currency: The underlying asset

The underlying asset that supports both the Collateralized Debt Obligation and the Collateralized Innovation Obligation is a person and their ideas; one is an asset and the other is a liability.  Both types of people go to work every day to interact with other people.  They both share ideas and create better ways of doing things.  People increase human productivity through fault tolerant networks and support systems. They transform information into knowledge and innovation – and both pay their mortgage.

Oh, What a Semantic Web We Weave

Innovation Economics:

is the conscious practice of investing in innovation as a method for driving economic prosperity.  Innovation is the science of change and economics is the science of incentives.

Money is fictitious:

Money does not represent gold or silver, it represents your productivity.  The value is held in the productivity, not coins or bank notes.  Debt represents future productivity and savings represents past productivity. It’s very simple.

So if the word “money” and the word “productivity” mean the same thing, they should be interchangeable. Right?

As a test, try the following:

Every time you hear someone use the word “money”, simply insert the word “productivity”.  Try it with the kids, your boss, the news broadcast, or your favorite politicians.  If their statement still makes sense, then it is likely a logical statement.  If the statement is confused, reversed, or makes no sense whatsoever, then this is where we need Innovation Economics.

The Reversal:

  • “Mom, can I have some [productivity] to buy an ice cream cone?”
  • “We don’t have enough [productivity] to invest in R&D”
  • “There isn’t enough [productivity] in the budget so we must cut education programs”.

The Confusion:

  • “It concerns me that Facebook has yet to find a [productivity] model that seems likely to secure its future.”
  • “Icelandic [productivity] collapse is heard around the world”
  • “Global Warming costs too much [productivity] to solve”

The Ridiculous:

  • “Wall Street Executives earned excessive [productivity] in 2008”
  • “State of Washington opens more liquor stores to raise much needed [productivity]
  • “Lawmakers from both political parties have criticized banks for failing to use the taxpayer [productivity] for lending to help stabilize the hard-hit U.S. economy”.

It’s really fun to play this game when you start getting bored with the endless dribble of spin.  You can even go backwards; hear “productivity” and insert “money”. Pour yourself a glass of wine, sit back to the nightly news and you may start noticing some interesting trends.

Discussions related to engineers, infrastructure, airplanes, teachers, doctors, police and firefighters, etc., tend to get The Reversal. Discussions related to innovation industries such as social media, environment, and social causes tend to get The Confusion.  Discussions related to gambling, marketing and advertising, money shuffling, law suits, Wall Street, and various forms of speculation, are simply The Ridiculous.

It will make you wonder why we would need a Web 3.0 Semantic Web.  We really need a Web 3.0 de-Semantic Web.

(Picture from Charlotte’s Web; a story about a dinner pig who makes friends with a spider who comes up with a plan to save the pig by writing words in her web.  All the town’s people thought that the pig was special and his life was spared. The farm animals knew that it was really the spider who was special – she was an innovation economist)

The Capitalization of Knowledge – The Virtuous Circle

We have set up a new game for entrepreneurs to play called Innovation Economics. We have defined a currency and an inventory where knowledge is visible outside the construct of the corporation – and resident in social networks. We have also described a way for entrepreneurs to visualize the knowledge asset and the supply and the demand for knowledge assets. We have given them a tool for matching assets for profit. We have described how social networks will keep the game fair. We have outlined the structure of new business plans; the brain storming session, product development cycle, the neural network, and the multiplier effect. Future businesses will be built upon combination of these four structures and whatever else entrepreneurs can dream up.

We have described all of the pieces needed to form a new economy. Now we need to connect with the financial markets so that knowledge is readily convertible to other currencies.

For review;

With the financial bank, the entrepreneur assumes that they have the knowledge to execute a business plan and then they look for the money. The risk is that the entrepreneur does not in fact have enough knowledge.

With the Innovation Bank, we assume that we have the money, and we go to the bank to search for the knowledge. The risk is not having enough money to purchase sufficient expertise.

With both banks acting together – the risks cancel each other out and the innovation economy tends toward a ‘risk free’ cycle; the more knowledge you can assemble, the more money you can borrow. The more money you can assemble, the more knowledge you can assemble.

Now we have a virtuous circle. The more knowledge you have, the more money you can borrow; and the more money you have, the more knowledge you can borrow.

There is no shortage of money circling the globe – only a shortage of risk free places to put the money. The innovation economy is an environment of very high return for a very low risk and will attract a great deal of money to fund innovation enterprise.

Earlier we demonstrated that money represents human productivity. It follows that the places that have the greatest potential for increasing human productivity can create the greatest amount of wealth. Therefore, poor areas and marginalized economies with under utilized knowledge inventories or the injection of specific knowledge inventories, become the highest ROI centers in a risk-free system; a condition the explicitly favors the wealth equalization rather than wealth disparity.

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