The next key area for discussion at the AGMS conference was Deregulation – or parallel and unregulated systems. This turned out to be a fascinating topic, covering areas as diverse as alternate global currencies and not for profit groups and their activities.

Basically the theme was that people and groups are increasingly finding ways to work around the system. Not always for evil and often to circumvent what they see as wasteful bureaucracy absorbing the money as it passes through.

There are more and more aid agencies springing up that are operating outside any regulation or external governance – where the money and services go directly to the people needing them. For managers these pose a particular challenge as they aren’t adhering to any of the existing procedure norms (no tax deductions, limited infrastructure and no accountability to donors) and yet they are succeeding because of the direct nature of their help.

Then there are the alternate currencies (think Bitcoin) which operate outside the established financial markets. It’s attractive to people who don’t want to pay for what they perceive as needless governance and control – but not so attractive to people who want certainty around the safety of their money. There’s a lot happening in the high end but even the on the ground grass-roots people are finding ways to work around the system. Have a look at M-Pesa in Africa.

From Wikipedia:

“M-Pesa is a branchless banking service, meaning that it is designed to enable users to complete basic banking transactions without visiting a bank branch. The continuing success of M-Pesa in Kenya has been due to the creation of a highly popular, affordable payment service with only limited involvement of a bank.
M-Pesa is also criticized for stopping the government from getting seigniorage revenues.”

These moves and more are changing the authority, span of control and in some cases questioning the relevance to the entire market of central agencies – a threat and an opportunity for people running, and managing businesses.

The question is: how do you teach people and prepare them for the possibility of marking new rules?

It was great to spend time contemplating this evolution.