Monday, November 24, 2008

I borrowed and read wikinomics (in Dutch). I'll return it tomorrow, so I thought I'd blog the things I'd like to recall from Wikinomics- my blog is the extended memory of my brain. Wikinomics was quite different from 'Here come's everybody' by Clay Shirky because it focuses so strongly on the case of business collaboration. Shirky focuses more on the fact that the availability of these tools will foster new levels of (unexpected) collaboration on all sides of the worlds. Important to remember is that peer-production does not work in all cases, but in cases where 3 pre-conditions are met:

  1. The purpose of production is information or cultural which makes participation costs low.
  2. Task can be fragmented and split up (like in wikipedia).
  3. Costs of integration of these tasks in an endproduct should be low.

    Three ideas I would like to remember are:

- The ideas agora

Ideas agoras are market places for ideas, innovations and talents. The example of InnoCentive where solution seekers and problem solvers are matched. The problem solvers can be rewarded with a cash reward. It is not the typical type of voluntary collaboration I had in mind (people contribute because of the reward), but it seems to work well as an innovative way to put expertise to work. Another example is yet2 where patented innovations are marketed. I would love to see an idea agora in development. Not Nabuur where people in development countries can try and get direct support from their neighbours in the north, but a place where development organisations can share their sticky problems. I'm sure it would be great to read and see various organisations struggle with similar problems, and get fresh ideas from outside the sector.

- The Tech Scouts

Scouts that search for innovations external, to avoid reinventing the wheel. In development I would love to see a tech scout function in organisations. Someone who purposely liaises with others. Though everyone should ofcourse be a little tech scout for his/her field of expertise, it would be good to make this more explicit.

- The idea of productive friction

This idea is presented in The Only Sustainable Edge by John Hagel and John Seely Brown. and refers to the new type of learning that takes place when knowledge and tasks are exchanged outside the boundaries of companies.

The best example in wikinomics is for me the example on page 260. The director of the Geek Squad thought of introducing a wiki for internal communication. As he was working with geeks, knowing what a wiki is shouldn't be an obstacles. However, the wiki was not used. Finally he discovered the employees were communicating a lot while playing games. The lesson is that rather than designing tools for communication, it is better to find out what the tools and modalities of communication are and go from there. In development for instance, most intense sharing and conversations occur during extensive travels... So instead of changing this, you can build on this by stimulating certain people to travel together.

The wikinomics books continues as an open wiki online at wikinomics.

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