date Sep 21, 2010
authors Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
reading time 5 mins
  • Book Title: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything
  • Author: Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
  • Year written/published: 2006
  • Book Source: Amazon
  • Some extracts:

What is wikinomics

And when these masses of people collaborate they collectively can advance the arts, culture, science, education, government, and the economy in surprising but ultimately profitable ways. Companies that engage with these exploding Web-enabled community are already discovering the true dividends of collective capability and genius.

4 ideas:

The new art and science of Wikinomics is based on 4 powerful new ideas: openness, peering, sharing and acting globally.


People who use similar tags are likely to have overlapping interests. Those shared interests provide an incentive to find out what other like-minded people are book-marking.

But what motivates people to freely contribute their time and talents to projects like Linux and Wikipedia?

… Basically, people who participate in peer production communities love it. They feel passionate about their particular area of expertise and revel in creating something new or better. But the motivations for participating are ultimately much more complex and fun and altruism. People who work on Linux during their spare time are usually employed in some other facets of the industry. Participating in Linux gets them experience, exposure and connections, and if they are food, they can earn status within the community that could prove to be highly valuable in their career.

Peering works best when at least 3 conditions are present:

  1. The object of production is information or culture, which keeps the cost of participation low for contributors
  2. Tasks can be chunked out into bite-size pieces that individuals can contribute in small increments and independently of other products
  3. The cost of integrating those pieces into a finished end product, including the leadership and quality-control mechanism, must be low.

Open source….

“In fact, it’s happening naturally,”… “in a totally organise way because the values of collaboration are engrained in the open source way of doing things. All these different open source projects and companies are beginning to work together, and that’s what’s needed to make software dependable and useful”

The world is your R&D department

The reigning orthodoxy in innovation has long been that it is best to create and commercialize ideas within the confined of closed entities. Indeed, for most of the 20th century this is precisely how innovation proceeded. Companies worked internally to turn the latest scientific break-throughs into products the market wanted. They rarely looked outside for new ideas ideas or inventions. One might even argue that they didn’t need to.

Working with suppliers…

Unlike the old days, where lead companies handed down detailed specs and expected suppliers to confirm , the new modus operandi is based on collaboration and cocreation from the design stage through to manufacturing. Like P&G, many companies now swap personnel and work side by side in the lab.

first library…

Certainly the works of great thinkers such as Aristotle, Plato, and SOcrates could be found there. It was also the place where Archimedes invested the screw-shaped water pump, Eratosthnes measured the diameter of the earth, and Euclid discovered the rules of geometry. Ptolemy wrote the Almagest at Alexandria; it was the most influential scientific book about the nature of the universe for the bteter part of 1500 years. And for those reasons the Great Library of Alexandria is regarded by many as the world’s first major seat of learning, perhaps even the first university, and the birthplace of modern science.

Knowledge now…

Indeed, we are fortunate to be living through the fastest and broadest accumulation of human knowledge and culture ever. Wired cofounder Kevin Kelly recently reported that humans have published at least 32 million books, 750 million articles and essays, 25 million songs, 500 million images, 500000 movies , 3 million vides, TV shows and short films; 100 billion web pages - and most of this knowledge explosion took take in the last half century!

Traditional journals…

Traditional journals aggregate academic papers by subject and deploy highly structured systems for evaluating ad storing the accumulated knowledge of a scientific community. Each paper is peer reviewed by 2 or more experts, and can go through numerous revisions before it is accepted for publishing. Frustrated authors can find their cutting-edge discoveries less cutting edge after a lumbering review process has delayed final publication by up to a year, and in some cases longer. With the pace of science increasing today, that’s just not fast enough.


In short, we must encourage innovation without eroding the vitality of the scientific and cultural commons. We need an incentive system that rewards investors and knowledge producers and encourages dissemination of their output. The hard questions are as follows: How much protection is enough or too much? What’s the right balance between private enterprise and the public domain?

Cumulative knowledge

The notion that innovation proceeds through the recombination of existing ideas to form something new is not unique to the Web, or even the last century. In fact, it was Isaac Newton who famously said in a letter dated February 5, 1675, “If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. His modest explanation for how he achieved such incredible insight into natural phenomenon has come to represent the idea that all innovation are ultimately cumulative, with each generation of advances resting on the previous.

Wikinomics by Design:

  1. Take cues form your lead users
  2. Build critical mass
  3. Supply an infrastructure for collaboration
  4. Take your time to get the structures and governance right
  5. Make sure all participants can harvest some value
  6. Abide by community norms and create conditions for trust
  7. Let the process evolve
  8. Don’t lose sight of your business objectives
  9. Collaboration starts internally
  10. Finding the Internal leadership for change
  11. Hone your collaborative mind