Social & Politics

Networks Without Borders

World map of social feature

Every day that we read, listen and watch the news we hear stories of conflict, tragedy and disaster. Earthquakes and revolutions keep shaking the globe, generating a sense that the nations of this world face insurmountable problems. Now “a multi-million dollar, global investigation” has been conducted by the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) at the University of Toronto into how non-state networks may provide solutions to global challenges in areas ranging from climate change, to human rights and economic policies.

Don Tapscott is MPI fellow and a leading thinker on the impact of technology on society. He will take the stage at this year’s DLD and share first findings from the research on how non-state networks may surpass international institutions, like the UN, IMF and World Bank, in their roles as global policy makers.

The so-called Global Solution Networks “originate in civil society, the private sector and individual stakeholders and achieve new forms of cooperation, social change and even the production of global public value.” Digital advancement enables these networks to form new patterns of connectivity, which were not possible on this scale ever before.

In 2009 Don Tapscott joined DLD on a panel which discussed leadership, in 2013 he returns inspired by events like the KONY2012 campaign, which succeeded in reaching more than a hundred million people, many of whom expressed support for the campaign’s cause. Tapscott cites this viral phenomenon as an impressive as well as worrying example for the power that rests in global non-state networks. Issues surrounding legitimacy, transparency and accountability remain undefined and raise new questions of leadership and power.