Reflections on the Decade III: Dawn of the 2.0 Era
The first decade of the new millennium ushered in new versions of just about everything.
Over the past decade, the world borrowed this successive, numeric method to mark significant, often revolutionary advancements in other areas: government, communications, activism, business and charity to name a few. More so than in decades past, the progress made in the last 10 years across so many parts of society has been so great that we were compelled to view them as fundamentally new—version 2.0.
Although technology served as a primary enabler of these 2.0 transitions—and Web 2.0 both coined and drove the 2.0 trend—technology did not entirely define the dawning of the 2.0 era. Rather, it was a unique mix of psychology, philosophy, and innovation together with a healthy measure of humanity that broke down the barriers to the next version of just about everything.
To be clear, the 2.0 designation is not meant to imply that versions 2.1 or 3.0 will follow any time soon. This is where the software analogy ends. The 2.0 designation simply marks a fundamental shift in thought, principles, and overall modus operandi. It deliniates the past from the present and future. Not coincidentally, it aligns with the first decade of the new millennium.
Following are a few of the 2.0 highlights from the past decade.
Dawn of the 2.0 Era
Web 2.0: We are all too familiar with the original 2.0, so we won’t go into too much detail. Quite simply, it is marked by a series of C-words: community, collaborate, cooperate, control, connect, communicate, create, contribute, collect, content, and crowdsource. If we missed any, feel free to comment.
Environment 2.0: We’ve written before about the meaning and significance of Environment 2.0 and how it evolved quite rapidly from the first version starting around the turn of the century. In many ways the distinction is as simple as being for environmental solutions as opposed to being against environmental destruction. This has enabled politicians, corporations, and pretty much anyone to participate and support sustainability and green living simply because it’s a positive and reasonable thing to do. And while this has opened the door to greenwashing, this second version of environmentalism is still far superior to the first.
Politics 2.0: Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign demonstrated the power of the Web for political organizing and fundraising. You might say this was the beta version for what President Barack Obama accomplished in 2008. Obama’s campaign approach is now the gold standard in Politics 2.0, which leverages networks and empowers supporters in distributing your message and attracting new supporters.
Government 2.0: In principle, American democracy is a government “of the People, by the People, and for the People.” The reality is that we have representative democracy, which tempers the direct power (and whims) of said People. The Web has gotten us closer to the ideal through open government initiatives, increased citizen participation, and greater accountability while maintaining the representative structure. In short, Gov 2.0 enables a more perfect union.
Nonprofit 2.0: The leading edge of the nonprofit world adopted a new ethic and way of doing business. Yes, business. Just because an organization doesn’t have shareholders and a profit motive doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be run as if it does. Nonprofit 2.0 is about achieving measurable, bottom-line results and return on investment (ROI). These returns are measured not in dollars but rather positive change and fulfilling a stated mission as efficiently as possible. Social entrepreneurship, hybrid companies, B-Corporations, and the fourth sector all emerged in concert with this 2.0 trend.
Generation 2.0: Also known as the Millennial Generation and Gen-Y, this demographic powerhouse rivals the Baby Boomers in both size and idealism. Their potential to change the world is magnified, however, by the networked environment in which they came of age. Gen 2.0’s first major achievement was electing America’s first black president. And though they’ve had to tough out the greatest economic disaster since the Great Depression, precisely at a time when so many were graduating college and looking for work, it should only serve to build character and strengthen the connections between them. We have high hopes for them in the twenty-teens.
Entrpreneurship 2.0: The ethos of Entrepreneurship 2.0 encompasses many things including social ventures, triple bottom line thinking, and utilizing the social web to engage and involve customers in your business. The rules of business have changed, and savvy entrepreneurs are taking advantage of this to compete with established companies of the previous era. If there is a poster child for Entrepreneurship 2.0 in the 2000s, it’s Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com. Sure, Tom’s Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie might appear more relevant, but Mycoskie’s company didn’t sell to Amazon for close to a billion dollars.
What are your favorite 2.0 trends of the past decade? Where will version 2.0 strike next in this decade? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Sustainable Cities Collective