The Phoenix Economy
50 Pioneers in the Business of Social Innovation
Twentieth century capitalism was driven by alternating ‘Bull’ and ‘Bear’ markets, while the twenty-first century’s first decade (2000-2009) saw the collapse of the greatest Bull market in history. By contrast, a very different oscillation is now emerging as a driver of political, economic and business priorities. We expect the coming decades to see growing competition between ‘Dragon’ and ‘Phoenix’ models of wealth creation, superimposed upon—not replacing—traditional Bull and Bear dynamics
The Bull and Bear fight it out in a single bottom line world. Both tend to be short term in focus. By contrast, Dragon and Phoenix mindsets tend to be longer term in orientation. Dragon markets, particularly China’s economy, are often based on longish term planning, but are powered by business models and value chains that largely follow the path of Western industrialization, and—as a result—are likely to be increasingly dogged by environmental and natural resource constraints.
To date, Dragon economies have focused, at best, on a double bottom line of economic growth and the maintenance of sufficient social cohesion to keep the national locomotive on the rails. The Phoenix Economy, by contrast, blurs across national borders and works to integrate the triple bottom line of economic, social and environmental value added into its DNA—a triple helix of change and new growth.
Launched in 2009, The Phoenix Economy looks at a new economy being assembled from the ashes of the downturn, one that focuses on providing social and environmental solutions where markets and governments have failed. Urgent opportunities for facilitation, collaboration and support from governments, foundations, investors and businesses are also identified.
As part of our work on The Phoenix Economy, we have also worked with the Lien Centre for Social Innovation to highlight pioneering work in Asia that address both social and environmental challenges. A snapshot of the Phoenix 50 from Asia is captured here.