Remove the Obstacles
Shirky talks about collective intelligence in chapter 6 of Here Comes Everybody. He shares that it is “considerably harder than simple sharing, but the results can be more profound”. This is referring to the concept of working in small compared to big groups.
Web 2.0 is an example of social collaboration where the ability of individuals can create and share information to achieve goals that cannot be achieved by a single individual or closed organization. Business can use social software and group collaborative technologies to have employees co-create, cross reference, bookmark, tag and work in virtual spaces to create company value. Incremental contributions of the collective creates value as do the communities of practice that businesses can create internally and with external partners.
The advent of these easy to use technologies is allowing businesses to be more innovative and creative by tapping into the collective intelligence of their employees, customers and even through ‘crowd-sourcing.” At my organization we are using social tools to reach out to our customers. An example is we are allowing our customers to design the bus passes. This contest is being administered through Facebook. Yes ETS could have administered the contest pre-new media but a lot of people would have not entered due to the fact of inconvience. This supports Shirky’s statement that social tools did not create collective action, “they merely remove the obstacles to it”. People have always shared information but it has changed throughout the years and in today’s society it is easier to share due to “new media”. I have a reading file that a co-worker gave to me that dates back to 1997. This is not “collective action” but it is information sharing which is a major component of collective action.
Great post! Oh how I love Shirky. He really nails it on the head that by removing obstacles, collective consciousness is created even before collective action occurs.