Continuing to play the role of innovative thinkers and visionaries in their latest book, Tapscott and Williams believe that America must adopt a more collaborative approach to resolving its deepening economic crisis. This study is a very astute and intelligent attempt at showing how trust can be restored on many different fronts when people come together on a large scale with a common purpose of sharing big ideas for the benefit of all. The qualities to make this ideal world happen are found in our ability to allow new ideas to surface to challenge Corporate America's grip on things. By encouraging the `little guys' to form networks through the Internet for the purpose of exchanging information, new companies are emerging that produce more efficient forms of energy, cheaper forms of communication, and more reliable services. The planet's problems are too great to be left in the hands of corporate moguls who have a blighted history of getting it wrong more times than not. To prove the point that this vision is not just a lot of pie-in-the-sky, Tapscott and Williams look at a number of fields where future intellectual collaboration is critical for the effective harnessing of knowledge in the pursuit of economic development that benefits more than just the few. Healthcare, education, finance, government regulatory control, globalization, patents, intellectual property, mass media, and entertainment are all areas that are slowly yielding to the power of the Internet to bring people together in the hopes of shaping a better world. This book is full of illustrations as to how people are already starting to become better watchdogs of government and industry, how news can be more easily accessed, and how individuals are becoming more aware of rights and responsibilities. Getting to the next level where these changes actually transform society into a better place to live remains the big challenge. It will mean giving up rights, sharing power, sustaining resources, and crossing political lines. Simply having lots of money to throw at problems no longer works.
on April 14, 2011
Having read a few of Tapscott's earlier works, I already had a good sense of his views on collaboration. With Macrowikinomics, Tapscott and Williams they take their research to another level and their reader on a journey of the possible based on their observations of emerging practice. Few works of non-fiction have the boldness to outline how to take on the world's most significant challenges alongside an able examination of nascent business models. The authors set up a casual but informed tone that I found very readable, and this narrative voice led to a deeper connection to many of those interviewed that one doesn't always find in business or economic books.
To be clear, I found Macrowikinomics ambitious but that was not necessarily a bad thing. A thoughtful examination of the potential upside and downside to collaborative models and how they can integrate with the expectations of an increasingly powerful demographic could be viewed as very useful to those of us learning how to lead in a new era. In fact, I found myself constantly making notes of passages that contained opportunities for clients of mine. As such, I have already recommended the book to several people I work with as well as younger people I have been mentoring. It was worth my time for many reasons; prime among them is that I need to think more carefully about how to harness the possibility instead of resisting the changes underway.
on January 9, 2011
There was an important technological leap since Internet emerged, particularly from 2000
on. Specialists and critics have been written and studied the impact that the Web has on
technology policies, how to implement them and the influence they have in different areas of
Books about the Web has explored different themes: the regulation of cyberspace and the
control of Internet, intellectual property, digital revolution, the future of blogs, etc.
Authors like Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams made a wonderful research in Macrowikinomics - the enormous power of social networks. In this book,we found similarities with elements of the
Cultural Theory of risk, like menaces to the global world. Some of these elements are: hazards
(on global warming), vulnerabilities (regarding educational structures and socioeconomic
differences), uncertainties (about political action).
Macrowikinomics is based on the Wikipedia model, hence the name of the book, and free
software communities. The authors advocate an economic model based on the following
principles: cooperation, transparency, participation, integrity and interdependence, which are
supported by the mass collaboration that occurs in social networks.
Macrowikinomics argues that mass collaboration and exchange of ideas can positively
transform the "risk society." This mass collaboration could prevent to avoid damage to large
parts of the humanity, such as sudden disasters or catastrophes built over time and associated
with old economic models. The Web is presented as an invaluable reference for information. It
connects human beings within companies, and can also help to create new forms of collective
intelligence to solve the problems that face the planet.
The Financial Times analyzed the book and said, "If that sounds ambitious ...
Macrowikinomics allows them to extrapolate whatever you can think, and develop a complex
analysis. Health, education, clean energy, transportation, media, government ... nothing
impossible to address if enough people support each other, connect and share ideas, projects, etc.,
on the Web'.
An example of mass collaboration that shows Macrowikinomics refers to the Ravina
Project which is carried out by the Frasers in Toronto, Canada. This green energy research began
in 2006 and will continue until 2011. This study is being carried out in the house they built in
1920, which was refurbished to obtain higher energy efficiency levels. They publish on a daily
basis the energy they used online, as well as how much solar energy they are able to generate.
This couple of 60 years old is persuaded that they belong to the last generation that have been
able to enjoy the world in its fullness. They believe that in the last 25 years of the twentieth
century and in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, generations to come will witness
unprecedented damage to the planet.
Tapscott has declared we need new systems to solve problems as the United Nations and
the G20 are not working in an efficient way. He claims solutions to global problems like poverty,
disease, as well as economic and social disparities. He argues that dynamic and vibrant
communities all over the world are waking up and pointing the way to a new model. The new
technology platform is the Web 2.0. Business and government leaders are beginning to pay
attention to a new generation of digital natives. "There is nothing more powerful than an idea
whose time has come" and the old model of industrial capitalism has run out of oil.
Macrowikinomics is the ideal book to get an overview of how the digital economic and
collaborative principles work. I believe that these processes can be lengthy, complicated and
expensive to implement. At the same time, I have witnessed how the current global instability
has pushed the planet to reach a critical, unsustainable point and that the time for reinvention can no longer wait to be unveiled.
Almaguer Riverón, C.D.: (2009) El riesgo de desastres: una reflexión filosófica.
Beck, Ulrich (1998) World Risk Society. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Financial Times. Retrieved January 2, 2011 from the World Wide Web: [...]
Hugo, Victor (1802 - 1885). French dramatist, novelist, & poet.
Natenzon, Claudia E. (1995) La información periodística y la investigación del riesgo ambiental.
Pirna - Programa de Investigaciones en Recursos Naturales y Ambiente, Facultad de Filosofía y
Letras, UBA/ FLACSO Argentina.
Tapscott, Don. Retrieved January 2, 2011 from the World Wide Web: [...]
on January 3, 2011
I've just read the final pages of this comprehensive, insightful, and highly readable guide to the "age of networked intelligence".
I'm glad I did - it's giving me fresh ideas to apply at work; while explaining, step by step, the backbone of the changed nature of human interaction as it stands today. This is indeed the time of "rebooting", and nothing has come close in terms of sociological change and business opportunity, particularly entrepreneurial, for the past couple of hundred years.
I began reading it with a healthy dose of skepticism - after all, the authors aren't meek in their objectives, taking a shot at making sense of a world in rapid flux, and accelerating. Tapscott and Williams embrace a monumental expanse of changing areas and make sense of where we've recently been, where we are, and what is most likely to come. They lay the general groundwork, and explain its specific impact on our societies, vast segments of our economy (financial services, industry, energy, transportation, education, media) and politics (government and the transformed nature of the citizen - public servant relationship). I was well rewarded for my effort.
If you're related and/or interested in any of these topics, this is a must read for you.
Those who have read Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything (2008) already know this about Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams: they favor the "open" organizational model based on three basic principles: transparency, inclusiveness, and collaboration. Refinements of that model can (and often do) reflect the influence of Charles Darwin (e.g. the concept of a process of natural selection) and Joseph Schumpeter (e.g. the concept of creative destruction). Those who wish to learn more about the model itself are urged to check out two books by Henry Chesbrough, Open Innovation and pen Business Models.
What differentiates this book from its predecessor? Tapscott and Williams have extended their scope, as indicated in this passage when they observe that "a powerful new form of economic and social innovation" is sweeping across all sectors and, indeed, all continents, "one where people with drive, passion, and expertise take advantage of new Web-based tools to get more involved in making the world more prosperous, just, and sustainable." In a phrase, "global wikinomics." That is to say, Tapscott and Williams have extended the scope and depth of mass collaboration to include any/all social networks that agree to be connected and interactive.
A agree with them that there is indeed an "historic opportunity to marshal human skill, ingenuity, and intelligence on a mass scale to reevaluate and reposition many of our institutions for the coming decades and for future generations." This will require massive and - here's the greatest challenge - simultaneous collaborative transformation of all traditional institutions (e.g. social, political, educational, and financial). I also agree with French president Nicholas Sarkozy's assertion, "This is not just a global financial crisis, it is a crisis of globalization."
Other reviewers criticize the book for providing more "what" than "how" and I think they have a point. That said, I also believe that it would be extremely difficult - if not impossible - for anyone to explain how "global wikinomics" can be institutionalized by collaboration between and among national regimes that include monarchies, tyrannies, democracies, oligarchies, and tribal cultures. My rating is explained by three reasons that I admire this book:
1. It makes a strong case for understanding problems that exist today and will almost certainly become worse.
2. It also makes a strong case for understanding how to solve those problems with resources that did not exist or were insufficient until recently (e.g. technologies that support social networks).
3. It provides the authors' passionate and compelling affirmation of their faith that the "new future" they envision can indeed be forged.
Tapscott and Williams conclude, "Three hundred years ago Martin Luther called the printing press `God's highest act of grace.' With today's communications breakthroughs we have an historic occasion to reboot business and the world using wikinomics principles as our guide. Because each of us can participate in this new renaissance, it is surely an amazing time to be alive. Hopefully we will have the collective wisdom to seize the time."
I include this last passage to indicate that this book is not at operations manual; rather, it is a manifesto. Tapscott and Williams are pilgrims on a mission and they invite their reader to join them.