Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Yochai Benkler: Open-source economics


Yochai Benkler explains how collaborative projects like Wikipedia and Linux represent the next stage of human organization.There is no doubt that the worlds economic landscape is changing. There are plenty of writers who have mused on the impact of technology on globalisation, and I can thoroughly recommend a book called "Wikinomics" as a text on this radical change.

The sources of value which were always apparent for corporations and businesses are being eroded at an incredible pace as IP becomes wider, shared, and often developed in expansive groups. For many, the phrase "Knowledge Economy" (popularised by Peter Drucker in his book 'The Age of Discontinuity') simply represents an age where rather than 'things' being the basis of the value in an economy (ie: an industrial landscape), the creation and ownership of knowledge (fundamentally 'intellectual property') is the core. For my mind, the Knowledge Economy represents something more impactful, and sees our society being transformed in a way where, ".....Today, encyclopedias, jetliners, operating systems, mutual funds, and many other items are being created by teams numbering in the thousands or even millions."

Collaboration is empowering the collective mass of connected individuals to harness their skills and experience to improve existing businesses, change the dynamics of economic competition, and develop products and services which suit their needs in a more exacting fashion. In many ways, the traditional shape of businesses change (with crowd funding of projects running into millions of dollars proving this).

It is, though, important for ALL businesses (large or small) to realise that this change will affect them in a short space of time and can fundamentally alter their underlying business models.

Yochai Benkler does, therefore, present an inspirational talk which, I hope, will give you an insight into this change.

"Yochai Benkler has been called "the leading intellectual of the information age." He proposes that volunteer-based projects such as Wikipedia and Linux are the next stage of human organization and economic production. - read more at benkler.org"

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