Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One is good, many is better...

Now that you can get all the Book Rapper issues for free, I thought it would be appropriate to publish the big picture context and update each author and the issue at hand. Here's the third in the series...

The Book:
Barry Libert and Jon Spector and thousands of Contributors; We Are Smarter Than Me: How to Unleash the Power of Crowds in Your Business

The Bees Wees: One is good, many is better...

To learn about the power of community-at-work look to the natural world.

An individual bee, with its modest brain, is incapable of producing a hive by itself. And yet, a colony of bees can build a hive-community in the most amazing way.

The mighty midget termite-mound builders of Northern Australia, show what is po
ssible when the ants work toward a mutual goal.

Wow! When it comes to working together for the common good, Book Rapper defers to the master - Nature herself.

Community Building releases control, unfurls ideas, shares information, connects like-minded individuals and promotes cooperation within vast communities.

By giving away our raw imagination and naked ideas we allow others to polish up these diamonds-in-the-rough. Just put ‘em out there!

How often have you secretly hung onto your best ideas only to see them flower in someone else’s garden!

Ongoing interaction and dialogue is what makes information useful; feedback from others refines it for even greater benefit.

The business models of crowd-sourcing and community building extend the Aussie community spirit - CWA, CFA, SES - and traditional Amer
ican barn-raising; they raise the roof on business possibilities.

Housed under the vibrant white roofs of a Greek island village beats the slow, steady, throbbing heart of community cooperation.

It’s the same heart that the smart organization now has throbbing through its workplace chambers.

Gone are the days of the few controlling the many where corporations decided what, when and how things were produced.

Henry Ford’s ‘any colour as long as its black’ (because black paint was the cheapest) was the poster child of corporate control in those days of old.

In less than 20 years, the World Wide Web has spawned new business models and reversed the concentration of economic power.

Wikinomics, crowd-sourcing and open-source has democratized production and created an ‘economy of the people, by the people and for the people’.

The ‘new community’ taps into the power of the masses to fulfil tasks previously safely guarded by the exclusive eyes of in-house experts within the walls of the corporate office and the factory.

The Web has enabled this change in collaboration. Initially, the ‘1-way Web’ mirrored Industrial Age thinking whereby business focussed on control of information.

The modus operandi was to generate profit through strategies to corner the data market and up the price.

Web 2.0, the ‘2-way Web’ has flipped this on its pink
ear. Web 2.0 recognizes that information becomes more valuable as more people use it.

Social networking, crowd sourcing and building communities is your future.

Think and work together.

When we communitize we can reduce costs, wind up with a better road-tested product; a product that is already supported by a waiting market of customers.

We Are Smarter Than Me also shows how the principles of crowd sourcing can be used in the recruitment and retention of good people. This has to be a welcome bonus.

So, what can social networking, building a community and crowdsourcing do for you, your product and your brand?

Wrong question! Rewind; reframe.

Instead, ask, What can I do for my customer, my
people and my product?

The answer: Build communities!

Social Networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Second Life are second nature to Gen Y. Finally, smart heads of corporations and businesses are catching on.

The future of business points to Community Building, Social Networking and Crowd Sourcing.

One is good; many is better; We is best!


I’m often asked about the patterns and connections I see between the Book Rapper issues that I’ve been writing and researching.

One of the loudest trends that’s showing up is: Community.

At the time The Bees Wees issue was written, 'community' appeared to be an emerging trend.

A mere twelve months later, it’s no longer emerging. It’s shifted from the outside edges to centre stage. It's now front of mind, central to conversation and a natural part of our social lives.

The obvious flood has come from social networking. Facebook is flourishing and Twitter has become a tsunami. It seems we’re clammering over each other to get connected.

In our Book Rapper issues, ‘community’ is showing up across most of our recent issues.

'Brand Worship’ is all about connecting and belonging to a community through a brand.

Talk With Me’ is all about conversations within organizations and between customers and organizations. Conversations lead to relationships which build communities.

We Blog’, ‘The Great Business Gestalt’ and ‘Twittergy’ are the tools of social media. They tell us how to connect online and how to build virtual communities.

In the past few weeks, Book Rapper has been released to the world for free. This was a direct response to this trend of community. Our goal is to attract more people to Book Rapper and build a community around this to discuss the ideas we've been rapping.

My conclusion: if you’re building anything of value today, ensure you have ‘community’ embedded within your idea. If it’s not included, go back to the drawing board and redesign your offer.

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