Macrowikinomics | Don Tapscott

Summary of: Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet
By: Don Tapscott

Introduction

Welcome to the world of Macrowikinomics, where disruptive technologies shape the way we tackle global problems and transform our institutions. In this revolutionary guide by Don Tapscott, you will explore the power of ‘wikinomics’ and how it can be applied to various societal sectors like government, education, science, energy, and healthcare. You’ll discover how mass collaboration can expand our potential to solve our most challenging issues. The book delves into the importance of collaboration, openness, sharing, integrity, and interdependence in shaping the future of our social and business institutions. Prepare for an enlightening journey into a new connected planet and learn how embracing these principles can empower individuals to bring about meaningful change.

Ushahidi: A People-Powered Solution

In the aftermath of Haiti’s earthquake, a group of volunteers behind the “crisis-mapping” website Ushahidi mobilized non-stop assistance to coordinate relief efforts. Ushahidi’s founder, Ory Okolloh, established the website’s platform to provide a means for ordinary citizens to assist in crisis situations. It relies on hundreds of volunteers who help translate Creole texts into English, access maps, and coordinate food supplies. No formal entity created or controls Ushahidi. Instead, individuals utilize open-source information to create effective new information services that are quicker and more resilient than traditional bureaucratic channels. The growth of social media and open-source cooperation amplifies the potential for individuals to develop solutions and play a more active role in society. Applying this to sectors such as education, government, and healthcare paves the way for humanity to solve some of its most difficult problems together.

Five Precepts of Networked Intelligence

The power of networked intelligence is transforming society, and organizations must embrace five precepts to succeed in today’s digital age.

Disruptive technologies have enormous potential to change the world, but their effects can take time to manifest. Just as Gutenberg’s printing press unleashed knowledge that transformed society, today’s “digital revolution” is ushering in a new era of networked intelligence that is just beginning to appear. However, the full ramifications of this shift are still unknown, and institutions must adapt to meet the changes.

This new era of networked intelligence is characterized by five precepts that organizations must embrace to thrive in today’s digital age:

First, collaboration is essential to success in the digital era. No company or institution can succeed by relying solely on internal talent; instead, organizations must tap into external ideas and human capital to drive collaborative innovation.

Second, greater transparency and honesty are necessary in the digital age. Traditionally, most companies have kept information under wraps, but the sheer amount of disclosure generated by internet tools and social media is pushing organizations to practice greater candor and openness.

Third, sharing is becoming increasingly important. Just as groups disclose information online, they will also need to place assets such as intellectual property, curricula, and software codes into the public domain.

Fourth, integrity is critical in the new era of networked intelligence. Good behavior is its own reward in a transparent online environment, and trying to obfuscate or sidestep demands for clarity can severely damage an organization’s reputation.

Finally, interdependence is key. As ideas, cultures, information, and knowledge circulate online, they create cross-border connections. Solving global problems requires all four pillars of society – business, government, the civic sector, and individual citizens – to work together.

While critics argue that open source innovations detract from private sector gains, digital innovators enable far more discoveries than were possible under traditional practices. By extending the digital revolution to finance, energy, transport, education, health care, media, and sociopolitical causes, organizations can unleash the power of networked intelligence to drive transformational change.

The world is at a critical turning point, and organizations must embrace these five precepts of networked intelligence to thrive in the digital age. Failing to do so risks institutional paralysis or collapse.

Financial Paradigm Shift

The financial industry, based on trust, is overdue for change due to a lack of public confidence. Financial transparency is key to avoiding future crises, which can be achieved by openly sharing data and assumptions. Investment companies such as the Open Models Company are adapting this model by offering asset holders an independent valuation of financial products using an online community of experts. Venture Capital 2.0 is another transformative concept that uses mass collaboration to fund deserving new businesses. VenCorps, for instance, invests in startups using input from its online community members, awarding winners of its “American Idol for entrepreneurs” competition with cash and access to valuable networking. Peer-to-peer banking offers a way to take the bank out of the loan process, allowing borrowers to meet lenders directly online. Websites such as Prosper, Zopa, and Lending Club allow borrowers to receive loans at lower rates than traditional banks, while lenders receive higher interest. These transformative ideas collectively represent a paradigm shift in the financial industry, offering the potential for a more open, transparent, and collaborative future that may be difficult for some traditional institutions to accept.

The Power of Mass Collaboration

Google Earth, Carbonrally, EarthLab, World Without Oil, and GoodGuide are examples of mass collaboration applications that encourage conservation techniques and provide data for social and environmental impact. Nike uses the Green Xchange to share green innovations with similarly-minded companies. Smart grids, personal carbon allowances, and solar renewable sources have the potential to reduce passive energy consumption and transform individuals into prosumers. However, leadership is crucial for successful mass collaboration. Denmark and Germany lead the way in renewable energy sources while the US falls behind. The climate crisis seems to accelerate the exploitation of fossil fuels rather than creative alternatives.

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