In the beginning I didn’t really take an interest in this topic and, so I missed many things about what may have a real impact on organizations in the future.
Virtual Moneys are nothing new and come in many forms : in France we have the SEL, Switzerland WIR. Closer to us, people who are used to second life use Linden Dollars and twitter users are discovering , a currency they use to thank each other and help charities.
There’s a common point to all these initiatives : they aim at allowing exchanges, through a trusted currency, in a context of scarcity of legal money. Anybody can create his own money which doesn’t rely on tangible and material wealths anymore but on trust and what people have to give to one to the other. If I wanted to use great words, I’d say a currency that rely on Human’s wealth. A currency indexed on human and social capital. At the end that’s not very far from the truth and perfectly fits the current trends and expectations. Anyway, many organizations, from non profits to large businesses, even banks, are now investigating thid field. This is no surprise as experience teaches us that open and virtual moneys are the alternative par excellence to legal moneys when the last are becoming scare although the real wealth (in the general sense of the word) people can exchange remains intact.
I highly advise those who can understand a word of french to watch these two videos fromon the future of money.
Let’s remind one thing : in a close future, we’ll have to learn how to deal with many different moneys.
What does it mean for organizations ?
There’s nothing new here but companies have to face multiple challenges, what is made harder by the current context :
• Keeping ties intact in troubled times
• Reinforce the membership feeling
• Reward employees for their engagement and their efforts without being able to use the financial lever.
Another point needs to be taken into account : tracing the value created by the use of intangibles within the organization. Remember that one of the main barriers to the adoption of practices adapted to today’s economy is that companies are unable to trace and evaluate how value is created through discussions and interactions among people. Everybody intuitively know that working in networks, creating “adhoc structures” with a high level of interactions and connections create a lot of value. But, since it’s hard to trace and measure this kind of mechanism compared to what is done on a traditional production chain, very few dare go further in organization transformation.
What’s the link ?
Virtual moneys are an alternative to the current binary situation : doing one’s best and being rewarded or doing while being sure their will be no reward at all. Of course, there’s an half wat solution that is “congratulations from management” but it’s useless on a long term view because at the the end it changes nothing for employees.
A virtual money could help people to thank each other for useful things in their daily worklife. “Thanks for the information”, “thanks for having contributed to this project”…. The interest is obvious : building a system relying on trust and human interactions in a business context.
There’s another interest for a HR dept : the possibility to identify those who give, those who take without giving… A kind of information that can’t be found today and that may be very useful. More : identify unrecognized people who are central of corporate interactions, on the way informal networks work.
Third point : it makes it finally possible to measure how an internal “social” platform helps to create value. The users will be able, on the flow and in one clik, to thank someone for an information a contribution. So it will help to say “here there is something valuable for our employee’s work, here there’s a lot of activity but nothing they find valuable” etc..
Two questions still remain. The first is about the possible relation between these practices and the deployement of an enterprise 2.0-like platform. The second is about the limits and the factors of success.
We’ll go deeper into it in some upcoming posts.
confiance, linden dollars, Management, monnaie, monnaies libres, open money, remerciement, Ressources Humaines, SEL, WIR