We are very excited to announce the appointment of Douglas Atkin as a Non-Executive member of Buzzbnk’s Management Committee. He shares with us his first views on the power of cooperation.
Blog post by Douglas Atkin
Darwin got it wrong. Actually, to be more accurate, he didn’t get it completely right. The drivers of evolution are not just random mutation and natural selection. We should now recognize the potent force of co-operation. This is according to mathematical biologists who argue that evolutionary success also depends on how good a species’ members are at working with each other to achieve a common goal.
When an early member of our species stood with nothing more than a sharp stick in front a sabre tooth tiger and realized he needed his friends, human evolution took a lurch forward. When members of a bee colony collectively decide where they should build their next nest, they’re dramatically increasing their chances of survival.
All this is to say that crowdsourcing has a good pedigree. Especially crowdsourcing to enable social ventures that make positive change for the common good. The instinct to work with others to achieve something that couldn’t be done alone is literally built into our DNA.
I saw this when I worked at Meetup. Each member of each group had decided whether consciously or unconsciously that in order to improve their world, or the world, they needed others. Improvement could mean anything from being a better knitter to being able to survive cancer, from being a better belly dancer to ending slavery or getting help and advice about starting a new business.
A single mother in Queens told me she started her Meetup for parents of autistic children because it quickly dawned on her that doctors, books and courses failed to give her what she needed to face this challenge. It was only when she shared with others who dealt with the same issues every day did they all get the real help they were so desperate for. We realized that what we were doing at Meetup was, in some small way, to help enable the power of self-organized groups to improve lives.
So, this is why I’m excited to join the Board of Buzzbnk. I’m an energetic believer in the power of cooperation. And I’m obsessively curious about what makes communities successful. I think Crowdsourcing is the latest and most exciting iteration of technology-enabled cooperation.
In the West, and especially in the U.S., we’ve become distracted with a false definition of evolution: the dog eat dog version of survival of the fittest. We’re only ever going to be a fit and healthy society when we do what comes most naturally: cooperating for the common good.
Douglas has extensive experience in marketing and advertising, gained at Procter & Gamble, Ogilvy & Mather and other top creative agencies in Europe. He also has considerable experience in social media where he was Partner and Chief Community Officer of Meetup, the world’s largest network of local groups; and, is currently co-founder of Yackit, a new social network; and advising partner at Purpose, a consultancy that creates 21C Movements which mobilize millions to take action for social change.