Originally published on WIRED.co.uk November 28.


We are moving to a world revolving around alternate economies where we’ve all become traders, according to Chris Sanderson from the Future Laboratory, speaking at Intelligence Squared’s If Conference.

He referred to this trend as “anarchonomy”, a hybrid of anarchy and economy. “As we see change in geopolitics and social networks, so we see anarchy happening in business,” he said. With these anarchonomic business models we no longer just transact. “We’ve all become traders. We all have something to sell, so the whole basis of consumption and process of consumer activity has changed.”

According to Sanderson we are at the base of a “mountain of destruction” and are entering a period of transformation. He described the move towards more collaborative consumption and taking a generous approach to innovation. He quoted Daniel Burrus as saying: “The best way to create ideas is to change the ones we have. Taking an abundant approach, rather than a scarcity approach, helps us all.”

He described how were are entering a world of DIY and hacking, and cited the digital haberdashery Technology Will Save Us as a shining example of this new paradigm. “They are trying to earn a buck, but making money doesn’t seem to be at the heart of what they do.”

“Apple are doomed for failure,” he said, in reference to the fact that they make it so hard to open up their devices. “They better watch out, because the competition is round the corner. It won’t be Dell or IBM or HTC or Lenovo… it’s you and me. We are the competitor set. We will come up with better ideas. That’s the DIY challenge.”

He mentioned Sugru, the silicon gel that can be used to fix devices, as the sort of product that allows us to deal with obsolescence. “We can hack the system, we can hack the product. We make it better,” he said. This trend isn’t only evident in crafty individuals, but in burgeoning markets such as China where they have copied the iPhone to create the HiPhone, which they view as an improvement.

He added: “What do you do if you are Apple? That’s the challenge that traditional manufacturers face in the 21st century.”