In Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch works to free bloggers who were arrested on politically motivated charges. Throughout India and Brazil, the nonprofit Medicines for Malaria Venture fights a disease that still kills 500,000 people per year. Far to the north, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute gathers international policymakers and researchers to unknot the tangled ethnic problems tearing at places like Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
These highly wired and international organizations, and hundreds more like them, are doing the work once done by governments—working to solve intractable problems that leave countries and populations damaged and unstable. But they’re doing it in a new way that is not dependent on old power structures.
“With many problems getting worse, there is growing urgency to rethink our aging global institutions,” says business strategist and author Don Tapscott. “Now we’re beginning to see new and radically different platforms.” Tapscott, who has written more than 15 books on the global impacts of technology, has even coined a name for a new form of collaborative, web-based problem solvers: global solution networks (GSN).