In a globalized business ecosystem, the market can be anywhere in the world and the customer is merely a transaction entry in a database. However, as a business ecosystem localizes, the market becomes the community and the customers are the people who live there. They have faces and names. They are known for who they are to one another: relatives, friends, associates, acquaintances, neighbors, and community members. And if self-reliance is their motivation to localize, they have a vested interest in applying their resources to relieve their dependence on the globalized ecosystem for their basic needs. In other words, they are prompted to participate.
Participation by community members is the key determinant in how fast and to what degree a business ecosystem localizes. To accelerate localization and impact the local economy requires that community members do as many of the following as they choose:
- Buy local whether they think it’s a good deal, financially, or not–it may very well not be!
- Believe in the principles and values associated with self-reliance as the motivator
- Advocate on behalf of localization within the community as a way to achieve self-reliance
- Influence legislation regarding taxes, regulations, and subsidies to favor localization
- Invest in local businesses as entrepreneurs, resource providers, and stakeholders of all kinds
As you can see, there are many ways community members can choose to participate in localizing their business ecosystem. In fact, there’s really no reason why a community can’t expect 100% participation by all of its members in that each one makes a CONSCIOUS, INFORMED DECISION whether and in what ways to participate.
The presentation, Achieving 100% Participation in Local Agriculture Systems (click on link in title to view / download from Slideshare) I delivered during the grant projects encapsulates this concept. As an example, slide 15 defines “100% participation” in more detail:
In addition, my posting, How Do You Participate in YOUR Local Economy?, introduces the “100% Participation in Local Economies” diagrams and further explores the five ways in which community members can participate as initially outlined above. An example of the first diagram is embedded below:
Because of the direct association between participation and successful localization, a market network strategy that engages and encourages community members to take action is both necessary and quite different than one that attempts to tap into a global market. This will be the topic for my next posting. Meanwhile, have fun ramping up your participation!
Originally posted to Sustainable Local Economic Development by Steve Bosserman on Saturday, August 11, 2012