Wikinomics works…

Virtual collaboration tools, and their strength to make a difference to politics, economics and projects by enhancing knowledge transfer and innovation, are in the news.

Collaborative politics

Yesterday, The Observer reported Barack Obama’s internet strategy as being key to his winning of the election: I reported his own social network about 18 months ago, and since then, his campaign has used 3.1m “netroots” – people hooked into Obama’s facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube channels, who effectively pump his messages back out to their own networks and discuss them. Obama has given politics back to the people and invited them into a discussion directly with him: the media sit outside that relationship as they can’t control it. Promising a big investment in the US’s broadband infrastructure, and a YouTube broadcast each week, lets hope we’ve finally got a President who will practice 21st century politics.

Collaborative economics

Which brings me onto 21st century economics – Google’s quarterly profits have risen 26% over a period of economic meltdown. The Guardian’s Jeff Jarvis reflects on this today saying:
“Google’s first advantage is being digital. Who wants to be in the business of stuff any more – building cars, printing newspapers, selling CDs, growing food? Owning and controlling stuff was the basis of most business. And the reflexive response to a collapse in finance and equities used to be to return to the real: buy property. No more. Now the best retreat is to the value of knowledge”..

Google is based on creating an abundance of data about data, and a platform for countless businesses to be created using that information for niche markets. Similarly Facebook is based on sharing data – with friends and family, but also and more importantly, with a wider network of contacts you wouldn’t normally share so much with. Sharing more has led to more connections, more knowledge transfer and more innovation. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook and this weekend interviewed in The Observer Magazine says: “Facebook [is] not such an amazing technological feat – it’s just a group of tools and platforms – an evolution of communication”.

Collaborative Projects
Ed Mitchell and Clare Reddington of Watershed’s iShed have just launched a really interesting report called “Which Widget For What?” that explores – through measuring a real and virtual project – the different strengths and weaknesses of virtual and physical working as well as the effectiveness of digital web 2.0 widgets to support the knowledge sharing and innovation. The headlines are that physical meetings work best for encouraging people to share ideas and make connections; blogs work well to follow the development and ongoing analysis of a project (its a narrative form); and tools like MindMeister (online, editable, collaborative mindmapping) work well as virtual collaborative tools, pulling together the wisdom of the crowd after the physical event.

Collaboration and transparency – wikinomics – are clearly working as 21st C business tools for growth.

6 Responses to Wikinomics works…

  1. admin says:

    From Ruth Gould Mon, 17 Nov at 5:37pm

    Exciting as this may be, I wonder if this method is being used by Disabled people and those with access requirements? If you have the right software you can engage, but there may be issues eg: re: people with dyslexia or those unable to see images etc. Just worried all this wonderful digital content may in fact broaden the gap for disabled people??? Anyone out there – apart from us, thinking in wider terms of access support and how to use the web especially to engage with ‘disaffected’ communities?

  2. admin says:

    Christian Payne Mon, 17 Nov at 9:58pm

    I have seen the bridging of some communication gaps with various social media tools. In particular video platforms like Seesmic and What with deep tagging of video in the near future I think more value will be seen in multimedia threaded conversational platforms.
    Christian Payne

  3. admin says:

    Marcus Romer Mon, 17 Nov at 10:28pm


    thanks for this thread Hannah

    some good links here

    wikinomics blog

    worth a read the wikinomics book

    Plus just received my copy of the new Remix book by Lawrence Lessig

    I saw his talk at TED 2007

    his presentation is great. The Remix book is an extended essay of this talk

    Marcus Romer
    Artistic Director Pilot Theatre

  4. admin says:

    CJ Lyon Mon, 17 Nov at 11:05pm

    The emerging power and the dawning of the usefulness of internet communication is an adventure we are all participating in. Hannah’s opening post about Obama’s Internet strategy could be a key stone of digital communication for our generation. People do like to follow the best leader but to step out and be that leader is a monumental feat. There is a learning curve with on line tools and a mind set to comprehend virtual worlds and the social web. I asked on Twitter recently “What is the principle piece of understanding needed to give Social Media or Web 2 any meaning or purpose to an organisation?” I received one reply “organisational contributing”. And so it begins!

    Caron-Jane (CJ) Lyon
    PCM creative media

  5. admin says:

    Rohan Gunatillake Tue, 18 Nov at 10:59am

    Thank you everyone – am appreciating this little thread. Working for a team which is explicitly about collaboration of late I’m taking a somewhat tougher stand since I think a lot of what we talk about as being web-enabled collaboration is actually just conversation, which the web is undeniably great at.

    So one of the key questions that I’m working with at the moment is how do you turn a conversation into a collaboration?

    PS Enjoyed your and Ed’s report Clare…Vimeo FTW!

  6. admin says:

    Rohan Gunatillake Tue, 18 Nov at 11:32am

    And to Marcus – good to see you at HubKX the other day, hope it was a good session for you and your gang.

    Re: Tapscott, his new book Growing up Digital looks like a good one too.

    Video of him plugging it here:

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