It’s hard to not be moved by the cri de coeur (cry of the heart) of the Egyptian people. A cry for freedom so loud the borders of Egypt can’t contain it. I don’t think I’m being hyperbolic in saying we are witness to the rise of a new world order. An era defined by entrenched public and private sector institutions is giving way, right before our eyes, to a new era defined by self-organization. While we have sensed the trend for a while the clarity and immediacy of the tangible quest for freedom in Cairo’s Tahrir (Liberation) Square is riveting and marks a global inflection point. There is no turning back. Not in Egypt and not anywhere in the world. Self-organized purposeful networks enabled by social media will not be stopped. Fasten your seat belts.
Clay Shirky had it right when he warned us, Here Comes Everybody. An era defined by self-organization is an equal opportunity disrupter. No institution will be unaffected. Any government not reflecting the will of the people isn’t sustainable. Equally unsustainable are education systems not reflecting the will of the student, health care systems not reflecting the will of the patient, corporations not reflecting the will of the consumer, and economies not reflecting the will of the entrepreneur. Our social systems and institutions need transformation not tweaks. Clay Christensen taught us that institutions do not disrupt themselves. Institutions will not lead the inevitable 21st century transformation, self-organized groups of committed and passionate people, like the crowds in Tahrir Square, will.