Monday, April 03, 2006

Innovation: The Power Shifts

The cover story in this week's TIME magazine is called "The Next Big Thing Is Us". It's all about the notion that big, bold ideas used to come from "a small, shadowy elite," and everyone else was the market. The arrow pointed just one way.

The Internet has changed that.

As the author, Lev Grossman, says in the article, "The authorship of innovation is shifting from the Few to the Many." He cites as an example the fact that — when Apple launched iTunes and the iPod — it had no idea that podcasting would be a big deal. It was the users who told Apple what the product was for.

Another new phenomenon, which he calls "intellectual altruism," has accelerated this transformation. For example, one of the most useful references ever created is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit. It has been written entirely by 13,000 anonymous experts who have freely donated their time and expertise to work on over 3,800,000 articles in more than 100 languages.

Says Grossman, "Admittedly, it's counterintuitive: until now the value of a piece of intellectual property has been defined by how few people possess it. In the future the value will be defined by how many people possess it."

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2 Comments:

Blogger markrose said...

Wikipedia is a phenomenon that forces us to examine the source of a "fact." Wikipedia entries often come up high in Google searches on many subjects and thus becomes a central source for information on the Net. Since anyone can update a Wikipedia entry we need to closely identify the source. There has been controversy recently about attempted Wikipedia content manipulation. In public relations, where we advocate for clients and attempt to present our side of the story, how far can/should we go in presenting "facts" on the Net? If we err, the backlash can be swift and brutal and chronicled forever on the unforgiving Internet.

Monday, April 03, 2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Ken Makovsky said...

Because of its fluid nature, monitoring the net is as important as posting on it. We can't avoid the net because of this reality.

Monday, May 01, 2006 3:33:00 PM  

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