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  • Antonin Léonard: ''Values and principles work better than rules and qualifications''

Antonin Léonard: ''Values and principles work better than rules and qualifications''

The media tell us that it is growing harder and harder to find a job and that starting projects is very difficult. However, there is another story. Now, thanks to the Internet there are millions of ways to build another world, to set about projects, to crowdfund finance, to launch a blog, or to start a business. Collaborative and open practices are creating many opportunities.

  • Antonin Leonard

OuiShare is an example of an open and collaborative organisation. In 2009, a year after the start of the crisis, I was studying business administration and did not understand what business meant. I was able to travel, especially in South America, thanks to couchsurfing. It was my first experience not only of collaborative economy, but also of the collaborative culture and society that is emerging. When I returned to France, I wanted to share this experience, which had greater economical, social and environmental meaning for me. So, I started a blog. A year later, having received few visits, through social networking sites I met some people with the same concerns.

We started a community, which was fairly informal at first although we often met in person, which is how trust is built and online cooperation is not possible without trust. In 2012, OuiShare was created to organise events around the world so that people who shared our concerns could meet. We try to support and empower ambassadors in different European and Latin American cities in order to keep in contact with the community. Our aim is to provide knowledge about the social advances of the collaborative economy in order to empower citizens and to guide governments.

I have learned that if we are truly connected to a commitment to something stronger than simply making a profit in a company, a commitment that involves changing the world and contributing something beneficial to everyone, then we can achieve this through social networking because it involves a special magic. I have also learned that we can trust one another. We live in societies in which we trust people less and less. Trust, however, is good, although at first it is important not to lay down too much structure and too many rules. Values and principles work better than rules and qualifications. Values and principles are at the heart of what we do every day.

A study by the Institute for the Future asserts that the new skills we need for the world of the future are almost the opposite of those required in the world we have come from. Although an increasing number of young people now have these skills, they do not fit in large enterprises. There are geniuses without jobs because when they have a chance to work in a traditional company, they do not suit the corporate culture. I suggest they should be hired to make unpredictable and amazing things happen.

Although we are living in very difficult times, we are nonetheless a truly fortunate generation because everything is yet to be created. A new world is emerging and you are going to create it. You must consume less and produce more. If you start sharing, you will observe that many people will want to share with you.

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