Nick Clegg needs you

Clegg wants your ideas on which laws to repeal - but entrepreneurs have already got it worked out.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

You know something’s no longer fashionable when the Government gets involved: just look at the plight of the Arctic Monkeys after Gordon Brown said they were his favourite band. May we be the first, then, to say RIP to crowdsourcing (the technique used by web users to get information by broadcasting their questions on social media websites), because Nick Clegg has cottoned on to it as a way to cut bureaucracy.

While the Tories are off reconstructing the economy, they're keeping Clegg busy by asking him to find ways to cut red tape. Clegg's chosen method is using a website called ‘Your Freedom’, which asks The People to nominate laws they’d like to see repealed. The idea is to create ‘the biggest shake-up of democracy since the Great Reform Act of 1832’, according to the BBC. That said, a new survey has shown that with or without the Cleggster’s help, businesses have found their own ways to shake up the rules...

Apparently, the website has already had almost 350 suggestions, including calls to scrap ISAs, permit the hiring of temporary staff during strikes (has British Airways chief exec Willie Walsh already been making suggestions?) and ‘disband the Health and Safety Executive’. Hmm. But Clegg says he expects the website to spark ‘raucous, unscripted debate’, and plans to use the best suggestions as part of the Freedom Bill, due to be published in the autumn.

But a new survey has indicated that entrepreneurs might not need the help of Clegg to shake up the rules. Apparently, small businesses are making their own rules and using technology to challenge traditional assumptions. These days, small businesses are tech-savvy flexible working experts who rely on mobile working to keep them up to date at all hours of the day, says the survey by T-Mobile.

There’s no doubt technology has changed the way we work: for example, almost half of the 1,500 businesses which took part in the survey said they no longer believe in the traditional nine-to-five working day, while more than a third say the working week extends beyond Monday to Friday. Work/life balance has also improved: apparently, two-thirds say they’re happy with the amount of time they spend outside work – although we would imagine technology has also helped to blur that particular line.

The traditional trappings of business are also no more. A minute 2% of those questioned said a business card is necessary to ‘be taken seriously’ as a business person, while over a third said they don’t judge businesses on the look of their office. Almost 60% said they the size of a business doesn’t matter – good news for all the micro-businesses out there, although we are sad that this might bring an end to the grand entrepreneurial tradition of ‘fake it til you make it’.

Of course, there are certain rules that are never going to change: limp handshakes, for example, can absolutely destroy your reputation. That said, perhaps there’s a chance technology can change that, too. App developers: you may just have found your next goldmine.  

In today's bulletin:

Bank of England warns of second credit crunch
MT unveils its '35 Women Under 35' 2010
'Kin 'ell: Microsoft forced to pull its 'iPhone killer'
Nick Clegg needs you
Letters from Malawi: Sitting, waiting, skint

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