The next economic paradigm
Open Collaboration could be defined as the next economic paradigm. Indeed we are seeing various projects emerging and converging around intent and purpose based on open collaboration, from the way things are conceived, exchanged/shared and implemented, to the way they are approached and organized. Many are geared towards new ways of living, consuming, producing, cultivating, participating. We are seeing an increasing number of projects at the edge that are gaining publicity and participation: discussions (Quora, TED Conversations), intention based collaboration (Epic.io, Bettermeans, Bloomfire), project crowdsourcing (Open Ideo, Challengepost), community creation & project brokering (Nationbuilder, Changents, Transition Towns, Ashoka), movement incubators (Purpose.com, Movements.org), crowdfunding & social entrepreneurship mentoring and funding (Kickstarter, Unreasonable institute), social movements (Avaaz, 38Degrees), practice/idea sharing (wiser earth, we are not ants), sharing goods and services (The Mesh, Collaborative Consumption Hub), not to mention Twitter which has become the number one source for accessing the right people, and exchanging/diffusing information and ideas in real time. Twitter provides a fluid alternative to Facebook -which I currently see as a series of [connected] buckets into which all kinds of more or less desired items are thrown and where meaningful information is increasingly difficult to find other than for fun and entertainment-… Venessa Miemis insightfully lays out the Four trends shaping the "superfluid" economy in her last CNN Global Public Square article.
The value of the many...
Definitely, there is something happening! What we, the crowds, are realizing now, is that just by interacting with our families, colleagues, friends and expanding our networks to other contacts made through affinity of interest, intent or purpose, we acquire new capabilities and capacities for interaction and influence, and we want more! We realize how empowered we are to express ourselves, share with others and ultimately act. We discover the value and richness of the many when we can exchange and unite: the value of agency in togetherness. What started between friends on Facebook or business contacts on LinkedIn has extended to communities of intention, practice, interest that have formed spontaneously. Technology has provided the authoring tools and the diffusion pipes to make it accessible and achievable. The internet revolution –the one that was supposed to sweep up the world in 2000- has taken a little more time than planned to take off, and is actually showing its full measure now.
From formal to tacit knowledge
Players in the field admit however that they are caught in a flow which is hard to follow! We are realizing that there is no way we can capture knowledge and ideas and “store” them safely for later retrieval. Knowledge and information are in perpetual evolution and cannot be frozen for later analysis. Wikipedia manages to keep formal knowledge alive through perpetual updates from the crowd. Epistemology becomes more important than ever to keep track of how knowledge evolves. Actions, ideas and facts mesh and collide in the flow and this gives birth to new ideas, actions and facts. And in this perspective, securing intellectual property can be seen as an impediment to the flow, and taking advantage through IP of ideas and technologies that are “in the air” and emerge simultaneously in several places, as a form of hording…
The most valuable knowledge turns out to be more tacit (i.e acquired through experience, exchangeable through interaction, p2p) than formal (consultable in a database or library; learnt in school or legitimated by a degree), the likely most valuable skill becomes the ability to integrate knowledge and information in real time and make use of this tacit knowledge to act effectively. The capacity to channel, aggregate, debate, integrate, enrich, act upon and renew this ever-evolving tacit knowledge is the challenge we are facing now.
A lot is happening at the grassroots, many projects and stories to share, opening up possibilities, and we are seeing several attempts to gather, aggregate and visualize information in usable ways. Location tracking and mobile technology enable tools for action/crisis mapping (Ushaidi, UN Global Pulse), exponential computation power and visualization tools allows meta or real time presentation of globalized data (Gapminder, Earth Dashboard). What is missing is an intermediary layer that connects the micro and the macro level:
- One that would show how the micro and the macro are related, how each individual action and story contributes to the global outcome or global picture and has an impact; and vice versa, how large transformations, or large outcomes are made of combined individual actions or items.
- One that would draw substance, trends, evolution of significance and outcomes from projects, stories, conversations to build a bigger picture, keep track of directions and status toward purpose... at the smallest project level as well as the various levels of operation.
In order to keep the flow alive and running in line with purpose, we need to be able to see evolution in the making, how we contribute to it, and where it is taking us… we need to keep a momentum that will continue to inspire and empower, providing the conditions for outcome and achievement…Ghandi said we need to be the change we want to see. Seeing the possibility of the change and the change in the making would help us enhance our ability to be the change...
If you have other projects & examples to share or if there are any projects working on this, please keep me posted! I would be glad to join!