October 21, 2011
Anne-Marie Slaughter: A New Networked World Means Rethinking Professions
Anne-Marie is a Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and also served as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State from 2009-2011, the first woman to hold that position.
She discussed where we started from and where we have moved to, aka from a world of states to a world of social actors. The world of states was the first (traditional) way of looking at foreign policy, something she refers to as the billiard ball world. Today, we live in an networked world.
In that world, foreign policy has started to shift, where we are seeing orchestrated coaltions. In a top down colation, the World Bank pulled together 14 of oil producing companies and 4 oil producers to reduce environmental effects.
Where we're going however is bottom up: build local and go global. Examples include:
- From USAID to Kiva
- From NDI Election Monitoring to Ushahidi
- From the Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement to Palestinian Political Risk Insurance Project
In a billiard ball world, countries go to war. In a networked world, the dynamic changes and the players have much more resilience than in a billiard ball world.
She has been spending a lot of time researching and learning about network theory and horizontal management Everything she is hearing now in and outside of Washington is a combination of public and private initiatives. "We're moving forwards citizen act social foreign policy," she says.
We're at the beginning of a new world. Advice that she gives:
1. Don't just stand there, do something.
2. Connect, but not too much. Do not connect all the time. Be focused about their networked communications and don't overdo it.
3. Small is beautiful. She refers to Clay Shirky's work. If you want to get the energy of collaboration, you want small communities to be more effective.
4. Portals and plug-ins everywhere. Government has always thought in silos. Open government is about breaking down those silos.
5. Self-organization is better? The power of what we see in the Middle East is self-organization. Government needs to facilitate not do.
The whole idea of what foreign policy is going to change profoundly. She says, "iIf we're going to do this, we're going to have to change the way we think about our professions."
In a New World, we have to think about existing professions differently and gives the following 'spot-on' answers.
- Editor (old world) to Finder, Mapper (new world)
- Publisher (old world) to Aggregator (new world)
- Reporter (old world) to Verifier, Curator (new world)
- Public Relations (old world--image) to Convener (the person who brings together lots and lots of actors)
- Diplomat (old world) to Connector (new world)
- Leader (old world) to Catalyst (new world)
In these new roles, she concludes, we can build a networked world, one that is open, working from the bottom up. And, as a result of this, foreign policy will dramatically change. Enter, the new actors on the global open platform political stage.
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