The Economy vs. the Becono*me

While around 1m young people are languishing without education, work or training, hampered by public sector job cuts and a lack of stable work elsewhere, a new breed of entrepreneurs appears to be rising out of the ashes.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has found that, in spite of, or perhaps because of the bad economic conditions, young people in the UK are turning to business and setting up on their own. While five per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds in 2008 were in the early stages of starting a business, the GEM said, today it is closer to 9.5 per cent.

Accelerators are popping all over the place to incubate these young companies – the WaryaAcademy is funded by the owners of O2 and even Tesco is even getting in on the act – but can real innovation exist if it’s led by companies created during an almost bygone economic era?

Cue Becono*me.

The brainchild of economist Andrew Scott – Professor of Economics and Deputy Dean at London Business School and The Matchbox.

Becono*me [pronounced: beconomy] is a new economy driven not by traditional resources but instead uses individuals’ assets, like their networks and personal experiences.

Spark*Ups working in the Becono*me, unlike many startups operating in the traditional economy, are agile, iterative and entrepreneurial ventures that in their aspiration and intention are designed to be short-lived, shared and experimental.

The economy vs. the Becono*.me.

1. The economy is driven by baby boomers and is obsessed with growth – from large corporations to startups. The Becono*.me takes a long view of life and its many different stages, nurturing an 18-30 Becon Generation.

2. The economy is underpinned by an ecosystem of costly infrastructure, including transport, government and education. The Becosystem highlights the need for effortless use of technology.

3. The economy is driven by ownership and exchange of physical assets – the Becono*.me is driven by behavioural currencies.

4. The Beconomist is someone who enables, bridges and guards the axis between the traditional economy and the Becono*me.

The Matchbox is the space where Becons – young leaders from the Becono*me – are matched with brands that can provide them with information, resources and funding to develop their SparkUp idea.

Each Circuit represents a key area of the Becono*me that has been identified as valuable and unique – these have been paired with a key skill, or Generator, that the Becono*me values in its workforce.

Flux: Valuing freedom and fluidity of movement – through learning from different industries, roles and places over linear, localised careers

Give/Getworks: An emphasis on the people that you are connected to – digitally or in person – over the organisation

Be Media: Curating cross-cultural experiences by developing a digital fingerprint that gives access to relevant channels, networks and live opportunities

UpSparking: A propensity towards starting new things, with little to no fear or stigma of failure – fail quickly and learn

Skim Diving: Skim Diving represents a capacity for lifelong learning using different tools and sources – skim broad fields and access knowledge widely or dive deep into any niche

Step Changing: A non-linear view on your future that involves experimentation and experience in different fields and roles

Peer Indexing: Valuing your peers’ insights, experiences and different talents – key for collaboration and cooperation

Ignition: The drive to not become lazy given past achievements


At LBB we recently curated a selection of Spark*ups for The Matchbox. We picked a range of young businesses – embodying the above traits – and who we think will be the brands of the future. Have a look at the selection here.

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