Take a stand. Give back to new generation organizations.

Strikes across the Middle East lead to overthrow of governments. Massive teacher, police and fireman layoffs criss-cross the country. Strikes in Wisconsin lead to a shutdown of the schools. A project called Responsible Wealth calls for wealthy individuals to contribute their fair share to solving our country’s economic woes. Unemployment in the US hangs around 10%. In watching the news lately, it seems ever-more clear that our old ideas of how business works, how we earn money and how we live our lives, is never going back to the old ways of being.

The private sector needs to step up and become part of the solution. All over the world, people are offering to help rebuild homes, to reduce their environmental footprint and to offer new sources of news, beauty and knowledge – at a fraction of the cost it took to produce them.

I also believe that freedom and creativity run side by side, leading all of us to better solutions, better experiences and richer lives. Yet I have a confession to make. I have been free-loading on information and creativity services that help me live a better and richer life. And I’m resolved to stop.

So I’m helping in three areas to put my money where my mouth is. In all three cases, I have derived benefit from a service that is freely offered – and I can easily avoid paying. However, because I want these services (and new ones like them) to continue to thrive, I took a stand and paid up for an annual membership.

1) I signed up for Pandora One. I love Pandora. I have dozens of music channels that fit my mood. While the commercials can be annoying, I have happily listened for years to hours of music before deciding to spend the $36 and buy a year of commercial-free Pandora One.

2) I subscribed to WHYY, my local Public Radio station. I’ve been a subscriber for years – and listening regularly without contributing is just plain wrong.

3) I donated to Wikipedia. Founder Jimmy Wales caught me with his appeal (after about 10 visits to research various topics on Wikipedia). Even though this crucial resource has 395 million unique visitors from around the planet each year, Wales doesn’t accept a salary. The organization is run by volunteers and only uses donations. If you value citizen-journalism and collaborative knowledge sharing, donate to this knowledge sharing project.

How are you taking a stand to support the new generation economy and innovative business models?

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