The first cornerstone:
Passion is the drive, not the demand of the market.
A Market Driven activity is triggered by, and continuously designed according to, an idea of what the market wants, or what the market can be made to want.
A Passion Driven activity is triggered by, and continuously designed according to, what creates passion. That which feels important, interesting, engaging, or meaningful.
This means that the entrepreneurs within the PDE create their business ideas around something that is personally important. Something that really matters – to them. Passion Driven entrepreneurs are not defined by what they do, or how they do it, but by why they do it.
The second cornerstone:
Money is a means, not an end unto itself.
In a Market Driven activity, money is the goal. The operations are designed in order to create an economic surplus.
In a Passion Driven activity, money is seen as a means, not an end unto itself. Instead of designing operations to create an economic surplus, resources are created in order to carry out and develop the operations as such.
A Passion Driven operation can aim to be profitable, as well as non-profit. This decision is up to the Passion Driven agent (see description below). More importantly, it means that within the PDE there are other aspects, qualities and values that are regarded as more important than profit.
The third cornerstone:
Exploration is the goal, not eternal growth.
In a Market Driven activity, the overall aim is growth, meaning ever increasing profit.
If the business is big today you want it to be even bigger tomorrow. Every Market Driven strategy and tool pushes towards this, no matter how the business owner might feel about it, personally.
In the Market Driven context, never ending growth is justified as a necessity, partly because it drives development and this is argued to be beneficial for consumers as well as society as a whole.
In a Passion Driven activity, the overall aim is exploration, meaning continuously investigating and expressing one’s passion.
This exploration is self-reinforcing. As the Passion Driven agents explore the subject of their passion and gain deeper knowledge and experience, they become further invested in what they’re doing. In the PDE, it is this exploration that drives development, for the benefit of consumers as well as society as a whole.
Within the Passion Driven Economy, bigger does not automatically mean better. BETTER is better.
The Next Step
Although it can be easy to spot the Passion Driven Economy within the world of art and culture, it can be found in almost every business area.
We have identified Passion Driven enterprises and projects within, amongst others, farming, forestry, the food industry, healthcare, education, carpentry, journalism, tech and even banking. Are you a part of the PDE too?
In many ways, the knowledge of the Passion Driven Economy is important to everyone. But whom does it concern directly? Is it relevant to you?
If you come from the world of art and culture, please pay attention. Understanding the PDE can help you become more financially independent and gain more artistic freedom.
If you are a politician or policy maker and want to boost the Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI), knowledge of how the PDE functions is crucial. The CCSI mainly consists of Passion Driven companies. When you understand the PDE, it is much easier to know which strategies and efforts to invest in, and how to use taxpayers money wisely.
If sustainability is your mission, you’ve come to the right place. The PDE is good news for both people and planet, locally and globally. Since the PDE isn´t built upon a need for eternal economic growth, this is the case even when the PD agents themselves are not very concerned with sustainability. But usually they are. Many Passion Driven businesses are engaged in both ecologically and socially sustainable development (although they sometimes lack knowledge of how to brand themselves accordingly).
And if you simply want to make a living out of what you love doing, then you’re probably a part of the Passion Driven Economy already. Understanding its dynamics will help you handle your challenges, and achieve your idea of success.
A Passion Driven agent is an individual, network, organisation or company that acts primarily within the PDE. In this context, the term agent is a translation of the Swedish term aktör, meaning “a physical or legal person who acts actively in the socio-economic field”.
To be considered Passion Driven, an agent’s work related activities need to meet the criteria of the three Cornerstones: they need to be mainly motivated by something that feels important, inspiring, interesting or fun, they need to primarily consider their revenue a means to continue operations, and their overarching goal needs to be the further exploration of their passion. Since our theory of the PDE is still relatively unknown, most Passion Driven agents haven’t performed this analysis of their activities. When questioned about it by someone with an understanding of the PDE however, most of them agree they fit the description.
Note that the PDE is not the same as Passion Driven people in general. There are individuals who are Passion Driven everywhere. In fact, the vast majority of people are passionate about something or other. But the PDE is passion manifested in an economic context: a Passion Driven activity becomes a part of the PDE when it involves an economic exchange of some sort.
Continuity is also a factor. A singular occasion of selling something one was passionate about does not mean this person is to be considered a part of the PDE. The activity needs to be recurring in some way.
One of the biggest challenges of humanity today is freeing our societies from the need for eternal growth, while at the same time keeping jobs, tax revenue and development. Because obviously, an infinite market growth is not sustainable on a planet with finite resources.
As stated in the third Cornerstone, the technical and societal development that derives from Passion Driven exploration is not reliant on never ending growth. Its driving force is the Passion Driven agents´ exploration of their Passion, and eternal expansion is not a requirement for that to happen. Notably often it’s the other way around. Many Passion Driven agents experience growth beyond a certain point detracts from their exploration of their passion, and it is therefore preferably avoided. In this sense, Passion Driven enterprises can be said to be truly sustainable.
What would happen if the number of companies and projects within the PDE would tenfold, and then tenfold again? Would this sustainable quality remain? Could today’s level of development be maintained? What would be the effect on sustainability, on both a personal and global level, if millions of people shifted their production as well as consumption from the Market Driven Economy (MDE) to primarily the PDE?
We don’t yet know what effects a large-scale transition towards the PDE might have. There isn’t enough research using these parameters to make more than educated guesses at this point. We at the PDE Core Team would very much like to explore this topic further, together with you.
The global sustainability aspect aside, a thriving PDE offers many of the aspects a modern society strives for:
* increased innovation
* social inclusion
* resilient sustainability, both social and ecological
* increased attractiveness, especially in rural areas
* diversity of cultural expressions
* and, of course, enterprises, jobs and tax revenue
This is not a wishlist, but a number of observations following Linda’s interactions with Passion Driven agents, as well as various governmental and supranational bodies over twenty years time. She is not alone in her conclusions. Both the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, and the EU OMC group, amongst others, have confirmed this in their analyses and reports. It needs to be pointed out that they don’t use the term “Passion Driven”. They speak of the Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI). The CCSI is an EU economic-judicial term for a conglomerate “comprised of all sectors whose activities are based on cultural values, or other artistic individual or collective creative expressions and are defined in the legal basis of the Creative Europe Programme”. It’s a broad, unifying label put on such diverse industries as artistic professionals, computer game makers, architects, the film industry, fashion designers and the food industry.
Knowledge of the Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries is relevant when understanding the Passion Driven Economy. Most small and medium sized companies within the CCSI are Passion Driven.
Extensive research and analyses have been made on the CCSI and crucial knowledge about the PDE could be gleaned from this. Obviously, not all enterprises under the label of the CCSI are PD. Technically, fast food chains as well as Hollywood production companies fall under the term. It’s reasonable to assume that the majority of such companies operate according to conventional Market Driven business models.
It’s also important to understand that the PDE isn’t only present within the CCSI! It is found through a much wider range of sectors and industries than that – in fact, anywhere people choose to build their business on something they’re passionate about, in accordance with the three identified Cornerstones. But the overlap between the CCSI and the PDE is significant.
Researchers struggle to explain why the motley crew of enterprises within the CCSI have such beneficial effects on the societies within which they operate. This is because they’re asking the wrong question. They are looking at what these agents are doing, or how, rather than why. They are looking at the situation from a Market Driven worldview and so, they’re missing the point.
As policy makers have come to realise the CCSI’s potential, supporting and strategically developing these businesses has become increasingly prioritised. But the support being offered is often missing the mark. The wrong analysis leads to the wrong political-economic measures being taken, creating a number of problems.
Sadly, a common scenario is that Passion Driven agents get caught between two bad alternatives. They can either manage their often struggling businesses without any strategic support at all. Or they accept the “help” offered by well meaning authorities, meaning being remade into Market Driven enterprises, with the risk of killing their passion – their raison d’être.
Not only is this a waste of resources, often tax financed, that could be put to better use. But more importantly, the positive societal and sustainable effects generated as a result of their passion are being undermined, decimated and might even disappear altogether. That is nothing short of a tragedy for the Passion Driven agents. But even more so, for the societies in which they operate.
These dynamics, the problems as well as suggestions for solutions, will be explained in detail in our upcoming book.
In order to spread the knowledge about the Passion Driven Economy, we’re currently writing the (to our knowledge) very first book on the topic!
Aiming at being both inspirational and informative, The Passion Driven Economy – A First Draft will offer practical advice to those who want to make a living out of doing what they love, as well as perspective and inside knowledge to those involved in societal development.
The book will feature in-depth descriptions of the three Cornerstones and other principles of the PDE. It will address some of the challenges specific to Passion Driven agents, and how they might be turned into solutions for both the agents themselves and society as a whole:
Why are sales and pricing often such practically as well as emotionally challenging topics? And how can the underlying cause of this challenge also support both sustainable development and social inclusion?
Why is finalizing and offering a Passion Driven project up to the market so hard? And how come that the same behavior is so beneficial for innovation and attractivity?
Why is marketing and branding so difficult within the PDE? What is the difference between branding in the PDE compared to the MDE and how can Passion Driven branding contribute to a more sustainable world?
This book will summarize a number of dynamics surrounding the PDE and suggest how to relate to them in order to reap as many individual, societal and environmental benefits as possible.
We will explore how an emerging PDE might affect us on an individual, entrepreneurial, societal and global level, offering an outline of what we know today, what we surmise and what is still uncharted territory. Areas of future research and development will be suggested. We hope that this book will contribute to many more people wanting to discuss and formulate knowledge about the Passion Driven Economy in the future.
“When I started assembling the puzzle of experience and knowledge that I had accumulated over 20 years, and my understanding of the Passion Driven Economy began to emerge, it was as if my whole perception of reality changed. From having had a rather bleak outlook on the future for humanity, I began to see not only that a sustainable world could be possible, but also how. My hope is that this book will provide the reader with the same kind of aha experience, because it changed my life. It appears that when our creativity, our personal drive – our passion – and our actions align we get the very best results. Not just for us personally, but for society at large. That is so incredibly exciting!”
– Linda Kowalski Nordfors
The Passion Driven Economy – A First Draft will be distributed as an e-book, sign up to get to know when it is released.
We aim to spread what we already know, and accumulate more knowledge about the Passion Driven Economy, together with other thinkers, doers and Passion Driven people.
Amongst other themes, we will discuss the role of development and growth within the PDE and why many Passion Driven agent’s experience that excessive expansion hinders the exploration of Passion and is therefore preferably avoided. We will also address how the PDE relates to:
- Ecological and social sustainability
- Diversity and attractivity
- Equality and fairness
- Power and money
- Business development and branding
…and many other topics. There will be open seminars, debates, dialogues and experience groups. We would love for you to participate – to whatever extent you want! Let us know if you want to be invited.
What if we could co-create a shift, where the Passion Driven Economy and Market Driven Economy become more balanced? How might such a balance manifest itself? And how would we need to cultivate the PDE so that aspects such as fairness, diversity and the distribution of power also are taken into account? Seen from a purely personal perspective, if you had the choice, which of these two economies would you prefer to spend most of your professional life within?
Your input on the topic is crucial to the development of the understanding and spread of the PDE. Welcome to find out more and share your experience. Join the conversation!