“Win a Book!” Series: the Collaboration Economy (Review of “Wikinomics”)
" series with it. The second reason is that this book is a perfect way to start your Enterprise 2.0 journey, as it explains the transformation of the business environment by Web 2.0 technologies in very plain terms. The main goal of “Wikinomics” is to draw your attention to the processes that take place and trends that emerge in the present economy. Web 2.0 is how companies innovate, build relationships, market and compete. More and more businesses are harnessing the power of collective intelligence with the help of “weapons of mass collaboration,” such as blogs, wikis, tags, social networks, etc.  This helps them to get closer to their customers, drive performance, implement service improvements, create new products and more. The objective of the authors is also to prove that this new way of doing business actually has many more benefits than risks. By providing readers with numerous examples, the authors, Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, roll out facts that should not be missed by a company that wants to thrive in the new environment, called “Wikinomics”: •    Being open and transparent for your customers and partners pays off, as it brings trust to a new higher level. •    Peering with your customers boosts production of new and improved products and services. •    Sharing some basic intellectual property helps companies bring products to market more quickly. •    Acting globally is essential because global alliances, human capital marketplaces, and peer production communities will provide access to new markets, ideas and technologies. Tapscott’s call to companies is to adapt, and quickly – the changes are here to stay and will continue to unfold as time progresses. The book also describes a series of business ideas or approaches that are at the root of rapid, collective change. My favorites are: •    Peer production, driven by “Peer Pioneers," the people who brought us open source software and Wikipedia while demonstrating that thousands of dispersed volunteers can create fast, fluid and innovative projects that outperform those of the largest and best-financed enterprises. •    Ideagoras – websites or “marketplaces” where businesses can post their R&D needs to the masses and reward the problem-solvers, or offer up their unused inventions that would otherwise lie undeveloped and in secret. These emergent marketplaces for ideas, inventions, and uniquely qualified minds enables companies like P&G to tap global pools of highly skilled talent more than 10 times the size of its own workforce. •    Prosumers — encouraging/supporting customers who participate in the creation and modification of the product, adding new features or offering uses that your company would have never thought of on its own. I referred to this idea in one of my previous posts “Your Customers Can Help You in Crisis,” and gave an example from my personal experience with developing our project management software, Wrike. While building Wrike, we greatly rely on our users’ requests, suggestions and ideas. It helps us make the product better. •    Platforms for Participation — opening up your technology to allow others to create or even profit from its use, which may add to your bottom line and/or strengthen your brand. •    Wiki Workplace, a new corporate collaborative environment that helps break information silos within an organization and connects internal teams. This idea is the closest of all to Project Management 2.0’s general concept: organizing corporate collaboration in a system that lets employees contribute and modify content in a freeform manner, so that structures (plans, schedules and other related project data) emerge over time. The book itself is a great example of collaborative production. It is an Anglo-Canadian team effort. Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams were separated by the Atlantic Ocean when they wrote the book. These transatlantic roots give “Wikinomics” depth and interest, with numerous case studies from both continents. In addition, one of the chapters in the book was open for edits from its readers for quite a while. The authors work for the same consulting firm, New Paradigm, which marks the book as a client-development project, - but it is none the worse for that. Indeed, the commercial resources mean it is well-researched, well-written and edited with an eye to its sales role. The book is written in easy-to-understand language and makes a pleasant and interesting reading, as it contains dozens of real life wars stories from companies like IBM, P&G, BMW and Boeing. Of course, some of these examples and stories may not be brand new to you, if you read the blogosphere daily. However, while reading them in “Wikinomics,” you get another chance to analyze them and see whether they may be applicable to your own business. One of the best things about “Wikinomics” is the website it spawned, where a blog about collaboration and aspects of organizational change is an addendum more vibrant than the actual book. Though there are some questionable ideas in the book (for example, with all due respect, I doubt that “the participation revolution” will immediately “lift millions of people out of poverty”), “Wikinomics” is definitely worth your attention. “Wikinomics” is an important book for any company or business person trying to understand how to thrive in an age where traditional top-down, command-and-control structures are being challenged. Mass collaboration may sound like a buzz word, but as some have already found out (look for an example in the book), ignoring it could leave you burned.  So to those of you who haven’t yet read the book, I strongly recommend it. Those who have read “Wikinomics,” please jump to the comments section and tell us your impressions of the book. By the way, “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything” is the first book to be given away during the “Project Management 2.0 Books Giveaway”! The author of the best comment to this post will get “Wikinomics” for FREE! Update: The book went to Laura, who commented on this post on Thursday, October 22, 2009. Congratulations, Laura! Hope your innovations journey will be successful!
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