A quick look at Wikinomics
How mass Collaboration changes everything !!!
for more detailed info, go to RibbonFarm.com 13 June 07 enhanced by Peter/CXO
The new Economics is Wiki-nomics, which suggests both a “me-too” jumping on the “Freakonomics” bandwagon and a possible reductive identification of all evolving Web technologies with Wiki’s, this is a surprisingly good book, written at a calibrated level of abstraction, with a tasteful blend of concepts, anecdotes & statistics.
The Content was pretty light reading. It was concise & valuable though, and about as deep as you can reasonably expect a first-to-market book on the topic to be. It’ll be a few years before we see the dense, canonical & empirically-validated book we all really want, so until then, this book is a pretty good operating manual. You cannot divorce the themes of the technology of virtualization and the culture of open innovation, and this book proves the point. It is as much about open innovation as it is about things like Wikis & Blogs.
Key Points. Few authors summarize their key points comprehensively in the introduction, so I always appreciate it when a writer does that. You can actually get away with reading just the introduction, if you want 80% of the value and are willing to accept the assertions as best-faith truths. For good measure, the Conclusion reiterates the same points with some added depth. The Summary is presented in the form of a few “principles of wikinomics” that almost constitute a doctrine:
1. Being Open: maintaining porous organizational boundaries, working with industry standards, moving to a culture of non-secrecy, above & beyond legal needs, and being open to globalization and global trade.
2. Peering: This uncomfortable neologism is meant to capture the themes of encouraging self-organization & working with non-hierarchical organizational structures where possible.
3. Sharing: To move from a “win-lose” – “business-is-war” mindset to a mindset where there are Win-Win/Coop-etition options available. The key idea here is to think about business IP as a managed portfolio that includes things you give away (including to competitors) – alongside things you protect with patents or hide with secrecy.
4. Generation-N Norms: This whole culture shift is being driven by Generation N (his word for Baby Boom-leters) norms, that include speed, freedom, openness, innovation, mobility, authenticity & playfulness. Yes, I too gagged a little at the primary-colored bubblegum utopia-ness of it all, but to be fair, the authors do justify the list throughout the book with substantive examples. I can just see skeptics translating that to sloppiness, lack of accountability, competitive carelessness, lack of execution discipline, ADD, disloyalty, political naivete & silliness. That set of dichotomies is a whole other post.
For other Worthy Themes in the Wikinomics book, go to RibbonFarm.com
Comments: What do you think?