The Heinz Endowments

New Power: Author Henry Timms explains what it is, how to get it and why it’s changing our hyper-connected world.

The Heinz Endowments, We Can Be Podcast

For most of recorded history, the rules of power were clear: Power was something to be seized and then guarded at any cost. This “old power” was owned by a tiny fraction of humankind, and beyond reach for the vast majority of people.

But the ubiquitous connectivity of our world today is allowing something altogether new to occur, and makes possible an extraordinarily different kind of power: people-centric, participatory-focused and spreading with lightning-fast speed.

“If you are able to harness this new power, you are likely to come out on top,” says Henry Timms, co-author of “New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World — and How to Make It Work for You.”

As executive director of the historic 92nd Street Y cultural and community center in New York City, Henry is a passionate believer in the new power distribution that technology allows. The 92nd Street Y serves 300,000 visitors each year, and garners millions of online interactions. Partnering with the United Nations Foundation in 2012, Henry founded #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by social media and collaboration. To date, it has raised more than $300 million for organizations, charities and events, and made nearly 22 billion online impressions.

“We Can Be” host Grant Oliphant, president of The Heinz Endowments, asks in this episode what old power — large institutions, bureaucracies and top-down structures — gets wrong, and if it can peacefully co-exist with the new power paradigm that Henry espouses.

Henry’s answers may surprise you, and he is crystal-clear on what’s really at stake: “New power is becoming the essential skill of the 21st century,” he says. “Those that can harness the energy of the connected crowd and create opportunities for people to engage on their own terms will win.”

Henry dives into how the Parkland survivors, the Me Too movement, Local Motors and Black Lives Matter have gotten it right, and why our most challenging task may be figuring out how — or if — we can ensure this new power is used for good. “Those on the side of the angels need to get mobilized,” Henry says. “And I mean quickly.”

On this episode of “We Can Be,” learn about this new power: how to get it, why it’s changing our hyper-connected world and why we should be hopeful about what it can do.

Listen to the episode