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The acclaimed bestseller that's teaching the world about the power of mass collaboration. Translated into more than twenty languages and named one of the best business books of the year by reviewers around the world, Wikinomics has become essential reading for business people everywhere. It explains how mass collaboration is happening not just at Web sites like Wikipedia and YouTube, but at traditional companies that have embraced technology to breathe new life into their enterprises. This national bestseller reveals the nuances that drive wikinomics, and share fascinating stories of how masses of people (both paid and volunteer) are now creating TV news stories, sequencing the human gnome, remixing their favorite music, designing software, finding cures for diseases, editing school texts, inventing new cosmetics, and even building motorcycles.
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Part 0: Introduction
Part 1: The Four Key Ideas of Wikinomics
Part 2: Successful New Models Based on Wikinomics
Part 3: How To Apply Wikinomics
Table of Contents
A new and much more collaborative way to do business is emerging as a powerful force. Companies are opening up their internal processes to input and suggestions from outsiders who bring fresh ideas and new competencies into the equation. The end result is value gets created in refreshingly new and original ways. This is the essence of “mass collaboration”, and it has the potential to have a major impact on corporations of all shapes and sizes in the 21st century.
One of the best-known examples of this trend is the open-source online encyclopedia, Wikipedia. It runs on a “wiki” – Hawaiian for “quick” – software which enables any Wikipedia viewer to edit the contents of a Web page. Therefore, taking a cue from this, this new wave of mass collaboration in business has been dubbed “Wikinomics”.
The new age of mass collaboration in business has already arrived. You either get on the bandwagon and harness this phenomena to maximum effect or you risk getting left behind by those who do. The choice is yours.
A new breed of 21st century business enterprises is emerging. These companies create value by opening their doors to the world rather than by being secretive, by inviting anyone and everyone to collaborate rather than trying to hire and retain the best talent and by behaving like genuine global enterprises. The modus operandi of this new breed of companies revolve around four powerful new ideas:
‧Openness and complete transparency.
‧Peering to create value rather than using a hierarchy.
‧Sharing and pooling together all kinds of resources.
‧Acting like a global business rather than a smaller entity.
In 1999, a small Toronto-based gold mining company called Goldcorp faced an uncertain future. The company was besieged by strikes, lingering debts and the high cost of mining for gold. Goldcorp appointed a new CEO, Rob McEwen, who had a background as a mutual fund manager but no background whatsoever in mining. He attended an MIT conference where the story of Linux – the open-sourced operating system – was discussed in some detail. Inspired by this example, McEwen went back to his head geologist and said, “You know, if we can’t find where the gold is, there must be someone out there who can. I’m going to put all our geological data from the last fifty years on the Internet and ask where we should look next.”
Accordingly, in March 2000, Goldcorp launched what it called the “Goldcorp Challenge”. The company posted 50-years of proprietary geological data on its Web site – more than four hundred megabytes – and offered $575,000 in prize money to whoever came up with the best methods and estimates. News of the contest spread rapidly and soon more than one thousand virtual prospectors got busy analyzing the data.
So what happened next?
■Within a matter of weeks, prospecting proposals came flooding into Goldcorp
■These proposals were submitted by graduate students, mathematicians, consultants, military officers and complete novices to the mining industry. A variety of novel ideas and techniques were used.
■Around 110 new prospecting sites to look for gold were suggested. Around 50-percent of these were sites Goldcorp’s own geologists would never have suggested themselves.
■When Goldcorp tried test excavations at the suggested sites, over 80-percent yielded substantial quantities of gold.
In all, Goldcorp ended up extracting an astonishing eight million ounces of gold since the challenge was launched, catapulting the company from being a $100 million company into a $9 billion juggernaut which is now widely regarded as being one of the most innovative and profitable companies in the mining industry.
Rob McEwen estimates the Goldcorp Challenge has shaved at least two to three years off the company’s exploration time. This open-source approach to mining exploration has also hugely successful for his investors. One hundred dollars invested in Goldcorp in 1993 is worth over $3,000 in 2006. Overall, the returns on that investment of $575,000 as a prize in the Goldcorp Challenge have been impressive and far reaching.
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