Innovation through an era of expensive cash

Clamp squeezing a wallet with cash

We’re going to see major adjustments to how we do capital investment.

We’re entering an era of more expensive cash. Shorter timeframes for returns. Tighter rules on how we value future assets.


The risk is that these changes ossify existing political and economic power through constraining access to finance. If you’re tacitly supporting the current business models you’ll get the investment. If you’re disrupting on different levels you won’t.


But here’s a thought.


What opportunities might emerge for new entrant entrepreneurs as this shift unfolds? What might help to amplify these opportunities? Why might the rest of us care?


For innovation to happen there needs to be a combination of desire and capacity. Expectation, motivation, skills and resources. It can’t happen on air. But periods of stability can also work against the pull of transformation.


As more of us live through periods of societal shocks (health, economic, environmental and all at once) we’ll be searching for better ways of living. But without intentional action, this desire can fall foul of system constraints.


If we can see a desired future in say 2033 as more based on collaborative capital this could work to the advantage of some new entrant entrepreneurs.


A 2033 where we prize collaborative capital as essential to the transitions of what we value and our cultural norms. Prized because these transitions are how we are able to create newly functioning systems for (not least) healthcare, AI and transport.


Then those who can demonstrate how to accumulate this now will be at an advantage.


Collaborative capital is the asset of the networked era. That which enables us to work exponentially with people across our community boundaries.


Young people might not have the baggage of years in work environments where, even when they state the value of working across silos, their systems in practice embody something else.


But the capacity to work across boundaries is more than this. It’s the skills of mediating and convening, with people not like us as well as those who are. The capacity to do it wisely, not overwhelmed by the scale.


Without it, the future is much more conflict as our different forms of power and organising clash.


Without it, we won’t be able to build the new systems we need.


The lack of finance may force our hands to look elsewhere. But it is in no way a given.


It’s a capability that needs to be developed. If the impact is to be accumulated, it needs to be measured and valued.


So what can we do to help?


If you’re an investor or funder or commissioner of services: How might you prioritise collaborative capital in competitive processes? What tech is out there that can help you measure it with more confidence?


If you’re a business leader: How might you reward people who enable collaborative capital in your management processes? How might you structure time and skill development for collaborative thinking?


If you’re a new entrant entrepreneur: How might you build your skills in mediation and convening people? How might you include collaborative capital in your impact measurement?


Whilst we’re living through the pain of adjustments it’s hard to create the time and space for intentional change. But where we can, where we can pause our action which is responding to now, we can find the spaces for imagination; the possibilities for better change.


We all need access to finance. People need to be paid to live. But what if the future were dependent on collaborative capital as well?