What Will Corporations Look Like In 2025?
A Corporations core purpose is to unify employees around a mutual goal of creating a product or service, and to create value for the end-users of that product or service.
I think that we are at a point where corporations in their current form are not the most efficient means to that end.
The worlds future corporations, therefore, are something completely foreign to us.
We are moving towards an economy where the largest value producing entity is a crowd-sourced, transient organization, I will call Project, that exists for as long as it is needed before it is thrown away. Remote, project-based, temporary organizations built primarily around a single shared goal.
The closest analogy that we have to a Project currently is a large open-source project on github. So how is this entity structured.
- There are hundreds of contributors, but only 20–30 administrators.
- There are subscription model “patrons” for the project who give the contributors money to help continue the project.
- The project exists for as long as it continues to provide value to others. After that it naturally dissipates.
Projects do not need to pay corporation tax, Projects do not have to pay for expensive office space and company perks, Projects do not need to continue existing once the mutual goal that created them is fufilled.
You might be thinking “this works really well for completely digital products, but what if the Project is building a physical product or service? What if the Project requires up-front capital? As a thought exercise let’s take a look at a theoretical Project called PanHealth, whose mutual goal is to make a new type of frying pan that uses less industrial chemicals in the outside coating.
The Story of PanHealth
The Project would coalesce in an design/industrial design chatroom, then people would throw around free designs just brainstorming. When a really great drawing hits a note, everyone in the group becomes more enthusiastic. The chat board member creates a Project online and posts all of the images from the group in the project proposal.
The 3 most active members of the group also create an investment component of the page, and highlight the primary costs and the potential ROI in investor speak. They wait. Within a week several investors have come forth and the investment pool is full at the rate specified. It will mean they have to pay back whatever money they take out at interest, but they are confident that this will be a cool project.
The money goes into getting 3d models made from the initial CAD models made by a small contributor. They post the photos of the three of them holding the prototypes in the project board. The contributors are all psyched, and the administrators give all 300 of them $5 for helping get the project started. After this, about 20 people from the initial group have stepped forward to become more involved. They now have a team. They work on v2 for a month, posting photos in the Project group. When it is done, the admins ask the contributors if they want to be researchers. 150 say yes. They mail v2 out to 150 people who do user testing and return the results. After v3 is finished they connect to a market analyst company who tells them where on the internet to put the product, and a manufacturing company who actually makes the product and stores it.
Orders begin coming in, money begins flowing directly into the projects bank account, and the administrators are able to pay the investors and contributors their due share of the profit.
The Moral of the Story
PanHealth is just an example of the way current internet technologies could transform the way we think about corporations and ultimately, about employment in general. I for one am very excited to watch this story unfold!
If you liked this story, please ❤ it. It encourages me to keep writing!