Can we talk about a “democracy start up” when we are ignoring the very basis of what makes a startup successful. Has the right business model been identified encompassing post revolution Tunisia? Have we identified all the pieces comprising the ecosystem and especially the weakened components that need to be replaced?
Treating each of the failing parts of the system separately is ignoring the reality and the history of how and why we got here in the first place. Leaving it as is would be nothing short of a series of bandages meant to make us temporarily forget the pain. Blaming all of our pains on a failed revolution or too many incompetent leaders is downright irresponsible and ignoring the reality of a society in pain.
Our ecosystem is stagnant and our exports are in reverse mode and what is needed isn’t more of the same but a system by which and in which all the stakeholders can thrive. This government benefits from insight as they are composed largely of people who succeeded in the private sector, and from mistakes made by others before them; therefore they should be able to innovate, out of necessity, some might even argue, reverse-innovate new business models for an economy stuck in neutral.
Let’s look at some key issues to be studied as we embark on this democracy startup business model:
- What value do these projects create in the long term? Do they improve our lives, give us other options, or simply serve as an alternative? Keep in mind that the average citizen is probably thinking of existing roads, hospitals and medical equipment, renewable energy, other food alternatives, schools and other every day essential. What impact, social or economic will they have on us as a people and will that be realized?
- Who do these projects serve? The answer to this question is simple: it depends. If they are meant as strictly private initiatives or socially responsible ones. The former dictates that they would have to be profit maximizers, serving as a launching pad for MN corporations looking to reverse-innovate to stay afloat, and in which case they do not serve the public, rather target the public strictly as a paying client; the latter would mean that they have a socio-economic purpose and would be considered as reach-maximizers such as more access to rural hospital and elementary schools, access to technology and available internet to all and free public transportation.
- What sets these initiatives apart from past initiatives and how can we ensure they will not succumb to the same fate? Have there been studies conducted, by this government or others before it, or NOGs, of why some if not most initiatives managed in part or fully by the government have failed? DO we know what role political leaderships play in the success or failure of such transformational technological projects? Have we documented all the missteps and the best practices of the past, ours and others like us?
- What resources will be needed for these projects to reach their desired objectives? Have we really thought about what would happen when leadership changes? Do we have now, or will later train, the necessary labor force to achieve these projects? Do we have now or de we acquire all logistics necessary to ensure the manufacturing, transport, and delivery of our goods and services? As these projects realize their potential, do we produce enough renewable energy to secure satisfying demand or have we thought of alternative ways? Have we a plan for preparing future generations of engineers, teachers, manual workers and environmentalists to care for residual effects of such an industrial revolution?
- What relationships have to be in place, created or improved for success? To take on such a momentous achievement, many stakeholders have to be in synch with the strategy in place. This is a national undertaking no matter how you look at it. It requires the alignment of the syndicates such as UGTT and UTICA, all the ministries and public administration institutions, as well as the private sector. At a time political partisanship and deep divide in our nation, this will prove to be a challenge for many.
I hope that the soon departing government has thought of an innovative mechanism to keep these projects on the right track through a working model that is easily executed by others once they are on the outside looking in as it will define their legacy.
This democracy startup might be what this country needs after three years of spinning idly, but it will not be without difficulties and revisions of existing laws and re-evaluation of values.