We can do better!

Picture taken at Grameen HQ in Dhaka

A friend of mine, said this today:

“Is someone trying to bury this story? The biggest single repossessor amongst all is the nationalised Northern Rock. Remarkably a lender, owned by the tax payer, finds it cheaper to evict people from their homes and offload the cost onto, guess who, the taxpayer. Repossession is a deeply unpleasant business. It starts with increasingly demanding letters and phone calls from the bank, then visits, the court”

Let me emphasize: we have an inefficient solution, extreme social distress and the tax payer footing this bill without being aware of it.

We can do better!

Without delving too deeply, and before you say “but what could a solution be?”,  how about a mediation business to mediate between the bank and the customers? This would surely be a first step. Mediation is based on win-win.

Your turn! What could be a better way of arranging this?


It is this kind of question that is at the heart of London Creative Labs. It is a new organization that I am founding that tackles societal challenges through Social Business and disruptive social innovation.

The initial details are on the site. You can track the progress at the London Creative Labs Blog.

3 thoughts on “We can do better!

  1. Jay Standish says:

    I think ownership is also a cultural contrivance. I’m reading Lisa Gansky’s book “The Mesh” which nicely describes how ICT has enabled new business (and ownership) models based on providing access rather than selling ownership. As we shift more of our spending to these distributed-ownership, access-on-demand models, our attention and care for The Commons -digital, material, social, intellectual- should increase.

    So I wonder what opportunities exist for ownership structures that are not based on access to debt. Imagine if all of the rent you’ve ever paid in your entire life was paid to the same pool. And imagine this pool owned properties around the world, and over the years, as you contribute to the pool, you gain shares in the collective which give you increased access to property, like increased size and quality, or short-term access to a room in a foreign country you’re visiting.

    Just one example– but I think innovation at the level of the very agreements of ownership seems promising!!

  2. olasofia says:

    Hey this is very thought provoking Jay. Wonderful thinking. “The Mesh” sounds like a great read.

    I love your question: “What opportunities exist for ownership structures that are not based on debt”

    I have recently heard about “convertible notes”… debt that can be converted to equity at any point in time but this does not shift the notion of ownership…

    Your idea of a shared pool that collectively owns a lot of different kinds of properties is pushing ideas further. Yes — this would provide more of the “access on demand” service. Might even attract a lot of properties to move from traditional ownership to this model, if they could see the benefits at least personally, if not also see the benefit in how the commons can be better nurtured.

    Innovation at the level of agreements of ownership – yes very promising Jay!
    Feel like this needs better discussion space than comments on this blog 🙂

    Isn’t it great to have the blank canvas to dream together? We also need spaces for trying and testing, and for tracking things that are now hard evidence, but never to forget the blank canvas!

  3. Anders Abrahamsson says:

    Me imagine the Wikifying towards a Global Commons, where debts of the history are cleared, and we write up a new contract in harmony with the long term preservence and sustaining of the conditions set by our life support systems.

    I will relaunch the sustainopreneurship virtual community next year, in conjunction with the book writing – so maybe an otherwise very distributed conversation partly could take place there. In the mean time I lean towards a few sets of conversation places. They are linked from my “Personal Branding Hub” connected to my ID above here – http://andersabrahamsson.info. Twitter, Facebook, Amplify, Typepad, Tumblr, Posterous, WordPress. Those are my main social software/services infra-structuring an otherwise seemingly flowish unstructured mash-ups of ideas looking for a integrated framing towards a deeper and wider spread and understanding.

    We’re in the loop, Sofia. It’s our responsibility to keep it up!

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