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TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
TeamPark book (english)  part 1, vision and inspiration
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TeamPark book (english) part 1, vision and inspiration

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In every company, it is possible to identify processes that do not thrive well in a bureaucratic structure. The localization of people, content, and expertise, the utilization of special talents and …

In every company, it is possible to identify processes that do not thrive well in a bureaucratic structure. The localization of people, content, and expertise, the utilization of special talents and the maintenance of usable innovation: many things run more smoothly when use is made of an organization’s social dimension. Many tasks can be performed better by organizing employees not just in teams but also in communities and crowds. An organization that makes use of social media,
social networks, crowdsourcing, stigmergic collaboration and other “2.0” concepts has an advantage over its competitors. This type of organization is what we are calling the “Intelligent Organization.”

This book gives a vision of that new organization. The accompanying book is "TeamPark, platform and method".

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  • 1. From crowd to community vision and inspiration Patrick Savalle, Wim Ho and and Arnd Brugman Sogeti innovation and inspiration
  • 2. from crowd to community
  • 3. From Crowd to Community Vision and Inspiration 2nd (revised) edition Patrick Savalle Wim Hofland Arnd Brugman 2010 Sogeti
  • 4. Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 The Netherlands http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/ You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work to Remix – to adapt the work Under the following conditions: Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license. • For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page: http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/. • Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. • Nothing in this License is intended to affect or limit the author’s moral rights. 2010 Sogeti Sogeti Nederland B.V. DSE / Innovatie en Inspiratie Hoofdweg 204 3067 GJ Rotterdam production LINE UP boek en media bv, Groningen ISBN/EAN 978-90-75414-28-8 NUR 982
  • 5. “The ant is a collectively intelligent and individually stupid animal; man is the opposite.” Karl von Frisch
  • 6. Foreword Information technology (it) has now become a full-grown industry. Not bad for something that has only been around for about fifty years. What has become apparent in recent decades us that it is not only aiming a radically innova- tive technology at business but also at consumers. The introduction of gadgets, methods, technologies, tools and complete solutions have succeeded each other sometimes at an increasingly accelerating rate in recent years. Some introductions have been very successful and irreversibly altered the world of it. On the other hand, there are many innovative technologies that have never realized their prom- ise. It is undeniable that it fascinates us. Mostly, it offers the business world innova- tive progress and opens it to new opportunities of doing business. it is also en- thralling because younger generations have grown up using it as a tool, just as tv became an essential adjunct to the post-war generation. Generations X, Y and Einstein view it as a natural part of their lives and embrace new applications as their own without ever having to consult a user manual. It is an exciting world in which big players such as Microsoft, ibm and Oracle influence and perhaps even dominates the playing field. Young people are virtually now learning about xbox game computers, for example, when they are still in the cradle. Recent developments in business provide the potential of making the best pos- sible use of all generations. This means that, in addition to the line organization and processes, there is more and more need to cultivate the social potential that an organization possesses. We have to use all the internet functions that are avail- able to us in order to encourage and facilitate social networks and collaboration. All Web 2.0 capacities can be used to support this activity and then “let it all happen.” In this sense, support means allowing space and investing trust in peo- ple. I am convinced that the majority of employees will then experience more satisfaction, the greatest stimulation and, ultimately, obtain the best results for the organization. The TeamPark book explores these developments in complete detail. The writers then began the book, it seemed to me, with a mixture of “hope and fear” about their topic. Not knowing where they were heading, on the one hand, and allow- Foreword 7
  • 7. ing for the possibility that a brilliant vision, on the other. Patrick, Arnd and Wim have been able to inspire me about what was going on in organizations, as well as resurrect the social side of organizations. In addition, there turns out to be a number of recognizable phases that can be negotiated in order to unlock this potential. In brief, a clear idea of a book was born. To avoid writing it too strongly in the Sogeti tradition, we have produced a two-sided readable book and worked on it for about one and a half years. I am more than proud about the final result. I have been heartily encouraged by the recognition and enthusi- asm of the first readers, rewarding our perseverance. Fortunately, the period of “fear” is long behind us and only the “hope” remains. I am absolutely certain that every reader will therefore enjoy and profit from the reading of this book. I also trust that it will also help you find a way to unlock the potential of your social organization and derive added value from it. Frank Langeveld, Director of Sogeti Rotterdam, March 9, 2010 8 from crowd to Community
  • 8. Content Foreword 7 1 Start here 13 The future is social 14 Technological “convergence” 15 Customer communications 16 A new way of working. 17 Globalization 17 The limits of the spider model 18 The limits of the machine model 19 Symptoms of maladjustment 20 The crowd in every organization 21 Crowd control 22 New ways of working together 23 Big bang or evolution? 24 The Intelligent Organization and TeamPark 25 Playing or working? 27 2 Vive la Revolution! 31 On March 14, 2004, everything was finally ready 31 The new web 33 Hanging out and living online 33 We are the media 35 The customer is part of the company 36 Producer and consumer at the same time 38 Social technology 39 The new worker 42 Content 9
  • 9. 3 Web 2.0 45 The Weblog 49 Forum 50 The Wiki 51 The marketplace 51 The media library 52 Social link dump or social bookmarking 53 News aggregation 54 The activity stream 55 4 The “Crowd” 57 The Ron Paul revolution 58 We are all ants 60 The collective has its own life 64 Collective Intelligence Quotient (cq) 71 Crowd-control: channeling talent 72 5 Socializing with the crowd 77 Office warrior (fragment) 77 Nvidia 80 Nike 81 Response 1.0 versus response 2.0 82 Viral communications 84 Astroturfing 86 Community resistance 88 6 The new way of working together 91 From chaos to perfection 92 Stigmergy as defined in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 93 The human body 97 Madmen and fools write their names on doors and windows 98 Mass-action and brute force tactics 100 Bundling of forces 101 Broadcast versus direct communication 101 Synchronous versus asynchronous 102 Self-scaling and anonymous 103 Performing complex tasks without a leader 103 10 from crowd to Community
  • 10. 7 Various types of social collaboration platforms 105 Mechanical versus organic 105 Types of social activity useful to the organization 107 Social networks: implicit social activity 108 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon 109 Productive social activity: an alternative to teamwork 112 Crowds: creative social activity 113 What does such a crowd then do all day long? 114 Switching the crowd on and off 115 8 “2.0” 117 Enterprise “1.0” and “2.0” as Yin and Yang 119 Communities alongside Teams 120 Mintzberg and co. 121 The autonomy of Fairtlough 122 Thomas Malone and democracy in your company 122 Self-organization 123 Interaction 124 9 2.0 in business 127 Old companies in a new world 128 Knowledge processing factories and intensive personnel husbandry 130 The end of Taylorism 131 A new model for knowledge work 133 The future of your organization in 7 points 136 “Der mensch als industriepalast” 136 Final word 143 Content 11
  • 11. 12 from crowd to Community
  • 12. 1 Start here Communities and social websites are all the rage at the moment. Wiki’s, blogs, forums, you name it—if you don’t have them at your company, you’re just not up to snuff. Web 2.0, “Enterprise 2.0”, you just can’t get away from this burgeoning trend. Everything has become “2.0”. All of society is in flux. Of course, social change has always existed, but the speed and scale of the cur- rent transformations are unprecedented. As in the case of any hype cycle, the exact degree of penetration and omnipresence at which “2.0” will settle is not entirely clear, but the change will certainly be great and irrevocable when it does finally reach this stable state. What we suggest and will try to make acceptable is that Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are not empty slogans, not even memes1 but forces, concretely applicable concepts. Undoubtedly, the term “2.0” will be as often as not incorrectly used, but it is, at the same time, hardly possible to un- derestimate its pervasive effect at any level, be it social, cultural, political or, in any case, commercial. Despite the enormous influence that Web 2.0 is now having on the manner in which people use the internet, the concept remains rather vague and unclear to many. Nevertheless, it is perfectly clear to us at the innovation and inspiration department of Sogeti. When considering Web 2.0, most people think about in- ternet communities and social websites making it possible for visitors to interact 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics Start here 13
  • 13. with each other and inviting them to make contributions. YouTube.com, Linked- In.com, Facebook.com and eBay.com are all websites that make use of such visitor productivity and inspiration. In effect, we see the very same thing, but only in a larger, more holistic context. The way we see it, the technical, concep- tual and socio-cultural trends are not only revolutionizing the world of the in- ternet (called the blogosphere) but also your business operations. In our view, “2.0” resources not only facilitate and activate “visitors” but crowds in general. These crowds are to be found everywhere, including in particular every organi- zation. “2.0” makes it possible for companies to discover and activate an enormous pool of mostly untapped talent, one that is present in every company, without excep- tion. This talent reservoir is a sleeping giant ready to be awakened. It is filled with crowds that have enormous potential for innovation, creativity and pro- ductivity. The methods of tapping into this resource were then labeled Enter- prise 2.0, but what is it exactly? It is not only a company that works with Web 2.0 resources such as wikis, blogs and forums—the terms that you always hear in this regard. If only it were just that easy! Owning a telescope does not make you an astronomer. You remain exactly the same person, except that you have a telescope. Similarly, completely filling a company’s intranet with wikis, blogs and other social software will have little effect. Perhaps there will be increased fool- ing around and tinkering, here and there a lonely initiative, but not the more efficient organization that we hope for. More is needed for this transformation: there must be knowledge and understanding, resources and correct application and an intensive launch phase. What is necessary is a structured approach. And TeamPark provides it. The future is social Senior executives are still hesitant about setting up a social collabora- tion platform in their organization. The building of social platforms, the use and the (re)design of the organization is still just getting off the ground and will fully take flight in the near future. A logical development, after the social revolution in our private sphere, is the social revolution of the organization. We have all been able to experience the emergence of Web. 2.0, but the truly great change, the trans- formation of our business community, the advent of Enterprise 2.0 is near at hand. There are currently no training programs for “social collaboration,” but they will 14 from crowd to Community
  • 14. come. There are still no engineers or business experts who have been schooled in Enterprise 2.0, but they will appear. There are no experienced specialists, they are in the process of gaining experience. And these people will change our world. So- cial practices based on stigmergic collaboration is here and will only disappear if there are no more ants running around in this world (we will explain this in detail later). Not just because social activity further helps companies to optimize their processes in a way not possible with traditional tools. There are already techno- logical and social trends that channel the evolution and implementation of the new collaboration. Even in your organization. The Gartner hype curve for social media Technological “convergence” Smart mobile devices are conquering the market. Think of the iPhone that oper- ates on Unix, or the G1 operating on a special version of Linux, or Tablet pcs, Netbooks, book readers, new generation multi-touch smart-phones and laptops with built-in networking. But even more is about to come out. A trend that is Start here 15
  • 15. being identified as “convergence”2 will mean that an entirely new generation of “collaboration” tools will be created. Photo cameras, camcorders, navigation equipment, medical equipment, various types of handhelds and mobile devices— all will be derived from the same basics platform: the smart phone and all will run on a generic operating system, such as Android. They will all have the same connectivity and interactivity and all be able to take part in online social proc- esses. The internet, but especially your intranet, will become a web for still smart- er and, in particular, more mobile and social devices. With the appropriate mech- anism, this can become a smart grid that collects, weighs and evaluates information. The result will enable your employees to work and collaborate in almost any manner. It would be catastrophic to waste this talent and these op- portunities, and a good social platform makes such wastefulness entirely un- necessary. Customer communications Fear of missing the boat is the primary reason that so many companies are now trying to win over the external crowd, which is to say their customers, suppliers and other people from outside the company. These companies hope that, by us- ing communities and crowdsourcing, they can increase customer loyalty, encour- age practical innovation and achieve everything that “2.0” originally promised them. Everyone now wants to have their own community. But it is unclear how such proliferate spawning of groups will ultimately be possible. Where will all the customers go when everyone will soon be running after them? They can hardly belong to dozens of communities. Nevertheless, the trend and desire to join in clearly exists at present and, at least for the time being, they are bearing fruit for companies. It is however impossible for customers to be fully included in a company’s functional processes due to the impossibility of forcing customers to provide a certain performance or degree of commitment. Your employees are motivated by the employment contract, while customers have another relation with a company. Employees can be told what to do, as well as when and how. But customers cannot be ordered around. A new type of collaboration is therefore required in order to gain the cooperation of the external crowed, and this is made possible, as you have already guessed, by the right “2.0” platform. 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_convergence 16 from crowd to Community
  • 16. A new way of working. And there is also a social trend christened by Microsoft as “the New Way of Working.”The name given to the associated technology is Unified Communica- tion and Collaboration (abbreviated ucc). The New Way of Working does not involve any prescription of the times and locations where and when work must be performed. The balance between work and private life is shifted. More and more, knowledge workers are paid in terms of performance and no longer in terms of attendance. For organizations that are fully committed to bureaucratic structures and teamwork, the New Way of Working represents a great challenge. In such cases, the New Way of Working may only appear to have limited ap- plications. It would cause the organizational machine to grind to a halt because fixed workflows and direct, synchronous communications—the basis of the ex- isting organization—will not work if half of the team are busy training in the gym or out playing with their children, while the other half are sitting at their desks in the office waiting for the latest updates to documents or answers to their e-mails. The New Way of Working, working independently of time and place, is impossible without a new form of collaboration. Globalization Ultimately, the phenomenon of (technological) globalization is just “plain and simple.” Modern communications technology is making the world increasingly smaller, and it is now possible to collaborate with people from all around the world as if they were colleagues in the next room. The world will however con- tinue to turn on its axis, and many people will still prefer to work in the daytime rather than at night. Time zones are a reality and will present an obstacle to intensive functional collaboration among team members living all around the world. To function well, these teams will have to remain geographically limited in terms of location or, in any event, involve individuals whose work days at least partially overlap. Than mechanical means of collaboration inherent to bureauc- racy and teamwork are interlinked and make collaboration “any time, any place” impossible. By redefining the entrenched practices of functional collaboration (shifting the focus from e-mail to wiki), a “2.0” platform will break down this barrier. Start here 17
  • 17. The limits of the spider model In a bureaucratic organization, a manager reorganizes and delegates by commanding and adjusting “from top-down.” Like a spider in its web, he pulls on the various strands. Instructions are developed at the top of the command structure and then issued to and refined by those at lower levels, until they are implemented at the lowest level. This is known as centralized control. Knowledge and skills are standardized and described in terms of procedures and functions. The standard manner of thinking and acting that belongs to the structure can be characterized using the key terms “standardization,” “top-down” and “central.” Since noise and distortion inevitably occur during propagation, top-down is an inefficient manner to manage large groups. In a significant number of cases, use of centralized manage- ment techniques is even impossible. Imagine a situation when a school of sardines has to dodge a hungry barracuda and the head sardine has to wait until: (1) all the information being collected by the guard sardines has been received, (2) it can form a good idea of the current positions of all the sardines in danger, (3) it can come up with a course of action for each individual sardine in a school of thousands, (4) it can distribute a series of instructions over a network of manager sardines and team- leaders in order to have each member of the school move to the right position at the right time. The larger the group gets, the greater the proportional requirement of control and communications and, correspondingly, the greater the inertia of the system. The result is that it is less likely that the system will work The situation is not much different for organizations. Since the larger the or- ganization, the greater the distortion in both time (delay) and in content (misin- terpretation), companies are divided into departments with a certain degree of autonomy and independent management. Although larger groups—the company as a whole without considering the organizational structure—have special qual- ities that we would like to use (as we will see in this book), we will have to leave these qualities unused unless we at least define a good method of aggregating their talent without again compartmentalizing the constituent group and unwit- tingly re-instituting segregation. Central management (“management 1.0”), such as it exists in a hierarchical or- ganization, is also very limiting in the ways that it deals with inspired individuals. The same holds true for creative individuals or other types of exceptional persons. This limitation exists because an anomalous individual displays behavior or talent that is difficult to control centrally and can never be included in a job description. 18 from crowd to Community
  • 18. Especially in strongly hierarchical organizations, people are almost never employed at their full potential. Often, use is only made of the standard, predictable portion of the behavior of every individual. Of course, this is partly a deliberate choice in order to ensure that no one is made irreplaceable. Centrally managed organizations are furthermore limited by the capabilities and capacities of management; after all, the weakest link determines the strength of the entire chain. Centrally managed organizations are vulnerable as well; if a level in the hierarchy breaks down, the underlying levels are also put out of ac- tion and will remain inoperable until measures are taken at the center(?). The limits of the machine model In a bureaucratic organization, everything is formalized as much as possible. The organization runs as a well-oiled machine and, although that may sound ideal, it represents substantial obstacle to several types of increased effi- ciency and effectiveness. In a machine, everything is synchronous, running in a predetermined rhythm. Components are directly linked with each other. As the pistons of the engine go up and down, the crankshaft turns around at a correspond- ing rate. And the rhythm of the valves has to be correspondingly adjusted. All the parts are connected to each other by rods and cables. If just one part of the machine decides to go its own way, the entire group performance is put in danger. The ma- chine is certainly predictable and its performance is repeatable. But the machine is also inflexible and vulnerable. Your organization is such a machine. What might happen if the components now begin to work independently of each other? What would occur if half of the employees would rather go train in the gym every morn- ing while the other half was hard at work? What if team members were spread around the world? What if large groups of people had to work together? And what would happen if customers had to work together with your employees? How useful would “collaboration 1.0” continue to be? The machine would then break down. Direct person-to-person communications would then become useless. This machine model is inapplicable to more circumstances than you might likely suspect, or at least it performs below par under such conditions. Start here 19
  • 19. Symptoms of maladjustment The world is changing and, to an increasing degree, our current or- ganizational models are “out of sync” with this new world. The standard bureauc- racy-based model for organizations appears to have arrived at the end of its tenabil- ity. Symptoms of aging are clearly visible in nearly every larger organization. • The freely and unlimitedly scalable collaboration that is so matter-of-course in Web 2.0 is nearly impossible to implement in organizations. • Adjusting and even promptly reacting to external factors becomes more dif- ficult the larger and/or more “efficient “ that a company becomes. Large com- panies are certainly proverbial supertankers. • The New Way of Working turns out not to work; performing work in any location is certainly well within the control of modern technology; but doing it at any time remains impossible because the synchronicity of workflows makes workers sequentially dependent on each other. • It is impossible to optimize all the processes in a company; there are always misplaced and under-performing areas, and increased control and bpi is only counter-productive in such cases. • It has proven impossible to use all the available employee talent, simply because the company is based on a series of standardized functions and processes (i.e. based on averages). This is certainly a difficulty, and appears more like a deep failure than a repair- able deficiency. How can a model that has been so successful over the last 100- 150 years all of a sudden reach the end of its line? And still more important, do such large and, at first sight, varied problems have a fundamental solution? To answer the first question, we must go back to the source of the machine bureau- cratic model. In 1911, Frederick Taylor published his book The Principles of Scientific Management, which describes how industrial processes can be made more effective and efficient by standardization and application of scientific prin- ciples. Later, Henry Ford adopted these principles for a still more efficient mod- el of mass production or industry. His methods were universally imitated. The world has since changed enormously, but the inheritance from Taylor and Ford still has a dominant presence in our modern society. For modern knowledge work, the industrial model is far from being the ideal. Where workers previ- ously had to go to factories at agreed times in order to physically work together 20 from crowd to Community
  • 20. to produce physical products that moved along a production line, knowledge can be based on entirely different models, simply because it is now easier to send the information to the workers than to transport workers to the information. The internet has made bureaucracy obsolete for knowledge work. The above- mentioned symptoms are the result of the industrial model applied to knowledge work in a transformed society. The machine model is out-dated; a new model is required. And it is also certainly possible! Take the example of the collaboration among ants, bees or termites, or else the example of Web 2.0. All are totally dif- ferent kinds of cooperation compared to our bureaucratic ways. The crowd in every organization Increasingly more companies recognize the above-mentioned symp- toms and have therefore the desire—if (although?) perhaps still not so clearly formulated—to view their company not just as an organizational structure and to govern it top-down, but also as a crowd, almost an organism. Crowd-based or- ganizations are now being conceived as a large group of independently thinking, self-willed and creative people. But how do you control such a crowd? When the school of sardines begins to evade the barracuda, which of the sardines is respon- sible for coordinating this action? None of them, of course! Crowds are not di- rectly controlled. Crowds behave entirely differently from hierarchies: enter “man- agement 2.0”! Millions of years of trial and error have led nature to adopt a decentralized approach for the coordination of large groups (crowds). It is easy to imagine that Mother Nature originally tried to control all her creations but, at a given moment, 10 billion biting mosquitoes and 30 million thieving thrushes began to think differently: they began to be motivated desires to “take a look,” “find out for oneself.” And with one mighty gesture, Mother Nature created “Nature 2.0”. Now, people are certainly no sardines, by which we mean to say that individual people are not sardines. But when a large group of organizations are brought to- gether, a collection of people suspiciously displays many similarities to a group of sardines. In fact, there are many points of comparison between a crowd of sardines and a crowd of people. Start here 21
  • 21. Functional in comparison to social To get the most out of large companies requires not just centralized management and administration but also a decentralized mechanism. Every company has, in addition to its “hierarchical” structure, employees in their “organic” relationship: the crowd. What is necessary is a series of pointers to guide the crowd’s direction of movement and to ensure that this organic side of the organization supports its business objectives and complements the hierarchical structure of the or- ganization. The characteristics of the crowd, the instruments of controlling the crowd and the associated social-cultural phenomena, this is what we identify as “2.0.” Key Values: “facilitating” (passive), “organic” and “decentralized”. Crowd control Who might have previously thought that you could entice consumers to buy things they didn’t need? All sorts of new gadgets, new car models that are not fundamentally different or better than previous ones, expensive clothing and meaningless playthings. How gullible must such a consumer actually be? Before Edward Bernays began trying out “crowd psychology” (a specialism developed by such notables as his uncle Sigmund Freud) by testing it on “the masses,” people only bought the products that they needed. They only replaced things that were worn out. Buying was purely functional, a view that is hardly conceivable to us nowadays. Modern consumerism only began, however, to develop around 1910–1920. It grew out of the desire of large corporations to sell more by encouraging people to make more frequent purchases of newer and increasingly less expensive items. 22 from crowd to Community
  • 22. Prior to this period, we lived in a different world. In the present, we are living in what we might label “the century of the self3.” Although we might think that we buy something on our own accord, nothing is further from the truth. The mechanism responsible for compelling us to buy, called public relations or marketing, has now been refined to such an omnipresent extent that many psychologists are now won- dering out loud if free choice truly exists any longer. We buy new stuff that we actually don’t need and replace old things before they are worn out. Preferably, we acquire brands that attract attention to us and give us a certain desired social stand- ing. Rationality and utility no longer have hardly any role in this process. Social / peer pressure has become the most dominant motivation behind our purchases. This change has not occurred by accident; it has been deliberately engineered based on a clearly formulated theory and represents a pure form of crowd control, as it only really works when applied to crowds. Indirectly manipulating crowds, crowd control, is extreme: extremely powerful. And people in groups turn out to be equally extreme: extremely weak. Freud, the thinker behind the theoretical formulation, died an unhappy man with a great deal of contempt for humanity. Web designers cannot yet incorporate such an extensive degree of control in their social websites. In this respect, they are per- haps still living in the age of the 1910s and 20s. The architects of the new gen- eration of super malls will, however, provide this capacity in the sales platforms that they are developing for their clients. These will also be specially designed and constructed social platforms. New ways of working together The key to getting large groups of independent individuals to cooper- ate, the trick that Mother Nature has come up with, is a special way of working together that was not available to us humans until the arrival of Web 2.0 and is almost never used in our companies. At least, it has not been consciously used. A certain supportive platform is required for this special way of working together. Actually, we don’t want to say anything more at this point, as the relevant stories in the book are much too entertaining to have the ending given away here. Still, this new way of working together is so simple and, at the same time, so powerful that the absence of its large scale application in business is, in fact, very strange. It 3 http://zaplog.nl/zaplog/article/adam_curtis_the_century_of_the_self Start here 23
  • 23. will be an eye-opener for many, as it was for us as well. It is also extremely compat- ible with existing bureaucratic methods of working. We are, in fact, assuming that your organization makes use of the “traditional” way of managing and collaborating. For the time being, it will suffice to state that there are still many opportunities to arrange for employees to work together in a smarter, more efficient but also more pleasurable manner. Such approaches would provide them with more variety and options in their work, as well as give them more freedom of choice regarding their working hours and workplaces. This new way is what we identify as “social,” and an organization making use of the social sphere engulfing it is what we call “an intelligent organization.” “The organization formerly known as Enterprise 2.0.” The Mintzberg hierarchy made explicit using TeamPark Big bang or evolution? It is a misconception to think that “social” immediately and always represents an enormous change in an organization. Even at the present moment, there are many social elements in your organization that we only need to make evident in order to bring them to their full maturity. Fortunately, most communica- tions in your company do not occur by means of the organizational structure but through indirect and more informal channels. If you were to record who people were emailing, calling, smsing or sending im messages, and if you were to plot all this connections on a graph, you would produce a diagram that we shall label the 24 from crowd to Community
  • 24. social graph of your organization. The xobni tool is a fine example of a technology that performs such analysis. xobni records the email sent and received in an ms- Outlook environment. It provides a ranking of a user’s favorite colleagues or peers. At present, the backbone of your organization is formed by a social structure that you have probably never diagrammed or analyzed. Let alone that you should have designed or even conceived of it. It is an organic structure that has grown by itself and continuously refreshes and improves itself. How social can it be? To put it even more strongly, if you were to seek out the people who form the “heavy” nodes in the network, then you would find “new workers.” And these are people who are already accustomed to operating in the different way of working together. Social dimensions made evident Between social networks to the wisdom of the crowd, there are many degrees of social to which we should all devote some reflection. There is a great deal of room to grow, but such growth can begin simply, starting on the basis of the existing organization. The Intelligent Organization and TeamPark The employees of your organization can provide even greater perform- ances if they are organized into communities instead of teams and if they learn to Start here 25
  • 25. cooperate in an entirely different manner. What this shift in organizational focus requires is, above all, a special platform. In this respect, you might think in terms of software such as MySpace, Facebook or Ning. This type of social software is very effective in forming communities and making use of crowd power. It can be used in what we are calling the “intelligent organization.” Reforming an organization into an intelligent organization is not just a question of making a social platform available to it. It has to go through a necessary proc- ess in order to have the changes accepted and embraced. Sogeti has developed TeamPark in order to provide the organization with a thriving social side. Team- Park is a method for navigating the transition process to the social organiza- tion. Crucial in this regard is the use made of a social platform. Software does not just become “social” but requires certain ingredients, which must also be available in the right proportions. Every social platform has its own “social” character. It may, for example, be content dominant and stimulate the crowd to make con- tributions in the form of written articles, photos, videos and forum discussions, to name just a few. Or a social platform may be relationship dominant, stimulat- ing people to contact each other and network. A good platform is “S.O.C.I.A.L.” 26 from crowd to Community
  • 26. Playing or working? Texts about social platforms within the organization quickly give man- agement the impression that they are primarily concerned with entertaining em- ployees, who are expensive and must therefore continue to work billable and pro- ductive hours right up to the last minute. The accounts in this book might also paint a similar picture of a band that has cut loose and now has to be left alone “because work has to be performed in a bottom-up and organic manner.” In effect, it is dif- ficult to imagine that a company’s Facebook might make anything more than an occasionally useful contribution. It is not immediately discernible how uploading clips or getting people to post stories about their holidays might contribute to more efficient business operations. Examples like Wikipedia perhaps generate somewhat more trust, but what then? At the same time, the fear that such applications are only “played” with is equal- ly ungrounded. Of course, the launching of blogging facilities will not mean that people who, normally speaking, find it difficult to write Christmas cards once a year will all of a sudden begin filling up their personal weblog with literary mas- terpieces on a daily basis. Nor is it likely that people will suddenly start to discuss their hobbies and passions with their co-workers instead of their friends. People who find it all too difficult to decide what they will eat for dinner will not, all at once, transform into masses of enlightened visionaries and, instead of performing their daily tasks, will not abruptly become individuals exclusively devoted to earth-shattering innovation. Certainly not! The social sphere of an organization does not work like that. What social factors can, in fact, do is add a dimension to your organization that enables employees to select more varied work, more flexible working hours and a greater range of locations. The result is an organization that operates much more flexibly and efficiently. The people working in an intelligent organization will, in principle, perform the same tasks and produce exactly the same products, but they will accomplish these goals in a different manner. In general, one that is smarter, more efficient and less boring. And this new way of working is some- thing that is impossible to implement in a purely bureaucratic organization with- out a loss of productivity. One is social and the other is not. “Corporate social,” the primary subject of this book, is something substantially different from “open social.” It is entirely different “out there” then it is “in here,” inside the company walls. We will certainly use open social examples as illustrations, but corporate Start here 27
  • 27. social is ultimately an entirely different ball of wax from open social. The need- ed and, in fact, already existing ingredient is a specific way to abandon the limitations of the current organization, a way to combine the advantages of self- organizing collaboration with the existing methods of working together. We have been busy trying to optimize our organizations over and over again for decades. Process optimization, business intelligence, kpis, the whole shebang. A good social platform can be the next big step in this parade. As boring as it sounds, social, when qualifying organization, refers to nothing more or less than a new way of working together in which normal work is still accomplished, although it is performed differently. The new way is superior to usual practices in some processes, but not in all. 28 from crowd to Community
  • 28. Notes Start here 29
  • 29. 2 Vive la Revolution! On March 14, 2004, everything was finally ready ...Everyone who was anyone in the internet world was in attendance at Caesars Palace Hotel in Las Vegas. For months, people had been months squab- bling over who should speak, the advertisements to be allowed and the broadcast- ers covering the event. The introduction of the new Internet—currently still in beta but already nicknamed Web 2.0—promised to be one of the biggest ever events in the recent history of the computer industry. No self-respecting it company could afford to pass this one up. The ceos of Microsoft, Google and Oracle wasted no opportunity in demonizing each other. Google rewrote all the Microsoft indexes in their search engine to refer to those from Sun, causing serious overload of the web servers there. Apple felt some- what lost among all this pr power, moti- vating Steve Jobs to release a special sa- tirical mash-up of the media war on iTunes and to develop a clever media campaign. With great success! The viral he created in which Steve Ballmer gave a speech against the background scenery of the film Planet of the Apes brought the house down and continues to be a hit on YouTube. It was outright war. Some column- Vive la Revolution! 31
  • 30. ists were even suggesting that the stage for the upcoming event should be re-built into a boxing ring. Caesars Palace is after all a regular venue for the largest and most prestigious boxing matches in the world. It was there that Muhammad Ali chose to first introduce the world to the famous Ali-shuffle. It was also there that a mordacious Mike Tyson bit off a clearly discernible chunk of opponent Ivander Holyfield’s ear. And then, after receiving a warning and being booed, coolly also tried to similarly incise the other ear. The Web 2.0 launch almost had to be delayed as well. On the morning of the event, a recalcitrant Larry Ellison, capo di tutti capi of Oracle. “moored” his 110 meter long yacht in the Hotel’s outdoor swimming pool. The yacht blocked the main entrance to the hotel so that the organization had to switch to using rear entrances, which many of the speakers and guests initially refused to do. They all had hired the biggest limousines, purchased specially-tailored new suits and gathered a number of representative women around them. And then there was the press, the red carpet, everything that goes with it. Larry’s gesture had upset everyone’s plans. He and his group could easily enter through the main entrance, of course. The yacht, on which there was exuberant partying all day long, could simply lower its gangway, which reached, completely “by chance” of course, right up to the large revolving doors of the hotel’s main entrance. Even today, it is still unknown how the yacht was moved to this precise location with- out being noticed. The yacht’s trip home was a media spectacle in itself. All this publicity had its positive effect: it made sure that the new Web 2.0 received the attention it deserved. Web 2.0 has recently also developed its own conspiracy theory, as the very peo- ple involved in the development of Web 2.0 began one by one to disappear over the ensuring months, never to be seen again. The few clues that have surfaced in the case are still not understood. Notes were left at the scene of each of the mys- terious disappearances with the words: Lontar Illustrum Natrmm Ustst Xem- plaros. Only recently has this text been identified as ancient Sumerian for “In- ternet deserves a stable platform.” The other evidence left behind, a plush penguin, still puzzles investigators. 32 from crowd to Community
  • 31. The new web The internet has been transformed. The new internet, called Web 2.0, its ubiquity and the enormity of its social impact are without doubt imposing a parallel transformation on the entire world. It is changing the way in which com- panies approach their markets. It is changing the way in which companies operate. It is changing the way in which people organize their social lives. It is changing the way in which people collaborate. Large groups of people turn out to possess enormous creativity and energy, and Web 2.0 is proving to be a perfect means for tapping this resource. The so-called 2.0 sites are still springing up from the ground like mush- rooms, and there is even a “2.0” jargon/style that is emerging. This new language is even apparent in the very naming of sites: flickr, plaxo, youtube, xanga, twit- ter, zopa, fleck, wakoopa, flock. When we recently had to think about a domain name, “fleedr” was one of the suggestions. No idea what it might mean, but the domain was still available and “sounded so 2.0.” Well it may just be that the depletion of “normal” domain names originally started this trend out of necessity, but appar- ently there is still such a thing as “the right 2.0 memes.” Not just names, but also the layouts of those sites have a 2.0 feel: purely functional, simple and colorful. They have large buttons, bulky logos, clear menus and many social features. All the trends and technologies that we lump together under the heading “Web 2.0” were obviously not all launched on March 14, 2004 as an official new release of the internet. There was never a release of Web 2.0; it is the result of years of gradual evolution. The internet is an ecosystem in itself, a fairly extensive one at that, where changes are constantly rolling off the assembly line in the form of ever more innovative web techniques and new types of websites. Through a kind of natural selection, the most successful technologies, the most powerful memes, survive and become the foundation for new developments. After 10 to 15 years of evolution, something was noticeably created, something that now, in retrospect, has come to be called Web 2.0. We are going to look in detail at this development and will also come up with a workable definition of it. Hanging out and living online Huge numbers of people use the new web, but mainly just to hang out on so-called social sites. Pure social sites like MySpace and Facebook are among the largest websites in their respective languages. This is a rather strange phenom- enon, because the only thing people do on these websites is socialize. They create Vive la Revolution! 33
  • 32. accounts and reveal who they are using photos, profiles, blogs and a circle of friends. They send each other messages and join groups. Evidently, there is a great demand for such activity, as nearly 3,000 (three thousand!) servers for the Dutch Hyves (our own Facebook) are moaning and groaning under the weight of pages that a few million active members visit and especially show to each other. The crowd is appar- ently unaffected by the fact that it often crashes for too long periods of time and will not always do what you want. On the new web, you do everything online, not just searching information and socializing. If you want to share your thoughts with others, you can do that us- ing a weblog or blog. Answers to pressing questions are to be found on a forum. Capturing and sharing knowledge can be performed together on a wiki. Wiki- pedia is the largest encyclopedia in the world and is compiled by people from around the world. These people have never met and do not know each other. They nevertheless produce a valuable resource, as the quality of Wikipedia is no less than that of the famous Encyclopedia Britannica. You can report activities or news by “twittering” mobile short messages so that everyone subscribing to the ticker-like message flow can then see what you are doing or what is going on. You can keep track of your agenda and daily concerns on sites like Plaxo. Emailing is done entirely online, using Gmail or Hotmail. You make friends on Facebook. You directly place your holiday snaps on Flickr using your mobile phone and link them to Google Earth, so others can view what you all saw. Transgressive, sneaky or just nice clips (especially of others) are directly up- loaded to YouTube from your mobile phone. Before too long, everyone will be able to look around the 360 degree panoramic view of our collected images us- ing Microsoft Photosynth. All our holiday snapshots together form a virtual world in which we can walk around and look around, the images automatically “stitched together” into a virtual world by the Photosynth software. All to- gether, we build our own world after based on a “paraverse,” a virtual universe based on reality. An example is the virtual world of Google based on Google Earth. Microsoft’s announcement that Photosynth would be able to the same trick with real-time video caused a shock wave. Real-time video from various sources can be mixed into a new video stream with a more comprehensive and panoramic image, as well as greater detail. Even including moments when we cough and forget to cover our mouths. 34 from crowd to Community
  • 33. And there is no editor or director involved. Neither Wikipedia nor Flickr, neither YouTube nor Facebook and not even Photosynth have editors to provide “con- tent.” Visitors to the site do it themselves, based on themselves, simply because it is fun and cool, and the facilities are available! We are the media The news media are also undergoing transformation. News is more and more “social” and “user-generated.” It is becoming social because we now are broad- casting “the best news” to each other. This news is user-generated because we are “collecting” and publishing increasingly more of it ourselves, instead of relying on a specialized editor or agency. The phenomenon of social news sites is relatively new, but the last time we looked, digg.com had a larger audience than the cnn website. On digg, everyone can post “link dumps” to articles on the web that they believe to be important or interesting. A link dump is a brief description of an article with an associated link. Others may vote on the news and, a deliberately undemocratic algorithm is then used to determine the news that appears on the front page (often not every vote has the same weight, democracy on the internet being a bad idea because it almost always ends in a dictatorship of the majority, or the death of quality). Articles given headlines, are guaranteed to receive well over ten thousand views in a few hours and often the linked sites crash because of the overwhelming attention. This effect is called slash-dotting,4 named after one very big “nerdy” it website with so many visitors that if all of them are alerted to an- other website by a link on the front page, the other site immediately crashes due to an overload. It is easy to see the type of news that, in general, makes the headlines on such sites and incites mass public participation. In the Netherlands, the largest news site nu.nl has its own social variant nujij, and the news that there appears, stands in stark contrast to the news that appears on nu. While nu, like any new com- mercial news provider, must remain in tune with the interests of advertisers, large corporations and politicians (probably in that order), nujij initially displayed much rawer, more honest and more authentic news. The difference was so great, so ad unfriendly that nujij have begun to manipulate things behind the scenes 4 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slashdot_effect Vive la Revolution! 35
  • 34. in a very unsocial manner because they ultimately just want to make money from the ostensibly “social” site. nujij was the first social news site in the Netherlands affiliated with a major commercial news service, and it is not inconceivable that other large traditional news sites will subsequently think twice before they consider making such fa- cilities available to their readers. Be that as it may, social news will continue to change politics and society; that much is for sure. Less and less news is coming from major news agencies like ap, Reuters and anp, and more and more from the crowd itself. And since, at any given time, someone, somewhere in the world is experiencing the daily news as it happens, the crowd is everywhere. No news agency service can beat it in this respect. Video and pictures taken at the locations where news happens are, one hour later, distributed worldwide through com- munities and blogs. Aggressors, freedom fighters, victims, bystanders, and others have discovered video platforms like Liveleak and can use their cell phones to share their views with the world. This content is not always pleasant to see but nevertheless real. It will only be a few years before mainstream audiences view live streams broadcast from cell phones, and that will unleash a complete revo- lution in news gathering. There are no longer any technical problems preventing television programs from being created online by mixing together broadcasts from multiple sources.5 Similarly, it is quite conceivable that, in the very near future, Twitter streams will be used to provide live images with commentary and explanation by the crowd. The customer is part of the company. It will take time to become accustomed to all these changes. Large companies have to contend with customers that have a large impact on internal operations. The customer is a member of a community, and that community will gives otherwise anonymous consumers a hugh influence. Individual customers can now have companies such as Nike bow before them, a nice anecdote about this later. The customer is now willing and able to collaborate, especially regarding public services. Customers now possess more creativity than the best innovation departments or advertising agencies. In addition, they already most likely possess the best knowledge about the product, as well as about the demand for the product. 5 http://mogulus.com 36 from crowd to Community
  • 35. When cbs television discontinued the Jericho series in May 2007, fans of the series began to send nuts to cbs in large numbers, thus referring to an event in the last episode that aired: “nuts!” Within three weeks, cbs received 8 million nuts, weigh- ing a total of over 18,000 pounds. Nina Tassler, ceo of cbs, decided to create seven episodes and broadcast them in the same year.6 The crowd is powerful, and smart companies, (i.e. “2.0” companies) try to make use of the crowd. Amazon, the largest book and music store in the world, has its Mechanical Turk. Visitors to Amazon can make money by answering questions from other Amazon customers. Amazon moderates the exchange. As yet, such crowdsourcing only involves simple tasks that computers perform with extreme difficulty but that people find incredibly easy. Amazon provides a small fee for anyone who performs such a “hit” (Human Intelligence Task) as writing a re- view, or identifying and selecting objects in photos. Dell has its ideastorm.com and tries to use it to better satisfy customer require- ments. Ideastorm is a kind of electronic suggestion box. Anyone can propose a product improvement in one of Dell’s products, on which others can then vote. Some ideas have received more than 100,000 votes, such as removing pre-installed Windows Vista from laptops or providing the option to choose pre-installed Open Office instead of Microsoft Office. Dell has promised the community that it will actually adopt many good ideas as possible. “Post,” “Promote,” “Discuss” and “See”! Often a customer’s requirement is, unfortunately, in conflict with the objective of the company. A popular idea was to have all laptops work with a standard power adapter and cable. The response from Dell was very honest, stating that they would never do that because they earn a great deal of money from selling the adapters, and the whole point is that a new adapter must be bought for each model.7 TomTom spends a great deal on the creation of good road maps, but even the best maps have errors. even if only temporarily due to road maintenance or temporary diversions. Instead of entirely re-mapping the road network on a daily basis, TomTom give users the opportunity to report errors and corrections that TomTom then distributes to the rest of the TomTom community, with or without checking their accuracy. The advantage for users is that they may even 6 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805663/trivia 7 http://www.ideastorm.com/article/show/73529/Standardize_Power_Cables_for_Laptops Vive la Revolution! 37
  • 36. occasionally benefit from the updates of others, and the benefit for TomTom is of course still more apparent: a more reliable set of route directions from a neg- ligibly more expensive product. In two years, YouTube has grown into what is perhaps one of the largest media companies in the world, at least in terms of audience. During July 2007, YouTube had more than 410 million page views in the Netherlands alone. It registers more than 200 million unique visitors per month worldwide, each remaining on the site an average of 28 minutes. At present, the data traffic on YouTube is as large as all the traffic on the entire Internet in 2000. Although these figures are ex- tremely difficult to verify and change every month, it is nevertheless clear to everyone that YouTube is a significant player in the new media world. It is not unusual for a clip on YouTube to be viewed 500,000 times within a few days. The “Evolution of Dance” clip has now been watched more than 60 million times, and the clip’s performer has become a celebrity on “normal” tv. Broad- casters are hiring him based on his YouTube success. And all this is happening without him or YouTube having to make any marketing effort. A similar thing happened to Esmee Denters, the singer that started her carreer on Youtube with a little help from Justin Timberlake. What distinguishes this activity is that YouTube does not have to produce any of its own content. We make every video that it shows. Us, we, ourselves. Producer and consumer at the same time More and more peer-to-peer services are popping up: services that enable visitors to collaborate with each other. Typical of such phenomena are the online auction sites on which internet users make deals with each other instead of going to a “store.” eBay is well-known to all of us. In addition to selling our old 38 from crowd to Community
  • 37. washing machines or cameras, we can now use similar concepts to borrow money from each other, as well as cover each other’s insurance risks. Peer-to-peer banks are gradually beginning to become more popular. At Zopa, the average interest rate on loans is often more than one percent lower than the cheapest rates offered by most commercial banks under much more favorable ancillary terms. A peer-to-peer bank has the additional advantage over modern commercial credit institutions of always having coverage for sav- ings, so that a bank run is impossible. Unlike banks based on the fractional reserve banking system (as in the case of all currently-existing commercial banks), they do not cause inflation. It is not inconceivable that peer-to-peer banks or large websites might, in the future, introduce their own currencies. Savings-point sys- tems such as Air Miles or the Linden dollar in Second Life are intermediate forms. After “normal” radar detectors were banned, new types of detectors began to appear. Any user driving through a speed trap signals its location with a press of a button, and the network automatically evaluates and distributes the informa- tion to all other users. Users are now warning each other about “speed traps,” and it will be very difficult to prohibit this technology. Social technology A new trend coinciding with the emergence of social computing in- volves the far-reaching convergence of so-called smart mobile devices. Everyone has now heard of the smartphone, which are nothing more or less than small laptops. The technological and functional structure is exactly the same, with only slightly less power while nevertheless having more capabilities. A smartphone is a laptop plus all the connectivity required for Internet access and networking. Plus a “shit Vive la Revolution! 39
  • 38. load” of sensors such as gps, accelerometers, compass and ambient light level meters. In the near future, these features may even extend to pressure, temperature, field gages, sonar, laser range finders, and biometric sensors. Or even a built-in camera with infrared and ultraviolet imagery. Some smart phones run the Android operat- ing system (itself the result of crowdsourcing, as it is based on some open-source Linux software). For many people, futuristic-sounding features such as augmented reality and gps tracking have been available for years. It is now possible for any clever programmer to build software for the most advanced personal-computing platform in existence and, as a result, have instant access to what are ultimately billions of devices and users. This development has thrown the entire industry into an accelerating onrush of changes and, along with consumers, everyone is trying hard to keep up. The trend that we refer to as convergence is discernibly characterized by the fact that smartphones like the Nokia E72, the Google Nexus, the Sony-Ericsson Xperia-10 or the iPhone 3gs increasingly serve as the basis for virtually all the personal electronics that we gather around ourselves. New cameras will essen- tially become smartphones, having the same generic software and the same con- nectivity but with a more highly developed specific function in terms of its opti- cal elements. Every picture that is created is automatically uploaded to a server, or e-mailed, or sent via Bluetooth or Wifi. The photographer can install special software filters in a processing pipeline that the camera applies in real-time to any picture taken. A television will also essentially become a smartphone, again with the same generic software and the same connectivity. It will be a smartphone with a huge screen, connected to all other surrounding smart electronics. It is not difficult to imagine that any type of navigational device, car radio, camcorder, media player, pda and many other electronics will take part in such a social computing grid. The ways in which viewing television will change have already been demon- strated. Modern tvs are designed as so-called dlna / uPnP media streamers, which means they can take content from any media server in the network, no matter if that network be local or global. And if the television set does not have this functionality itself, the consumer can buy a box that can operate as a media streamer for less than the price of a cinema evening for the whole family. Connect and its ready! If appropriately configured, all reachable media servers on the local network or accessible over the internet are automatically detected. A media 40 from crowd to Community
  • 39. server is itself free, it is freely available software. By installing tversity, Vuze or Twonky on the pc or soon also on the smartphone, the television can be used to view content from YouTube or other online media content stored on the device or network. A media server unlocks all the content to which it has access on the media streamer. And if the media server has access to the internet and large amounts of local content, watching television quickly assumes a very great new pleasure. It may be confusing, but there is no reason not to think that a camera or cam- corder may also serve as a media server and streamer, so you can easily add your own content to the “cloud.” Many of these media servers are also social. For example, Vuze, originally known as the Azureus torrent client (for peer-to-peer downloading of content from the incredible PirateBay site, among others) has evolved into a social media server. This means that you can share content with friends, “rate” it or recommend it to others. A television network will no longer determine what you watch but, increasingly, it will be your social network that helps you make up your mind. And how wonderful is that? You will have some- thing to talk about the next day when you contact each other using the chatbox oh no! This chatbox was already available while watching tv. Everything is so confusing. The same goes for almost everything for which you can use smart electronics. If you like cycling, you can now use Google-maps to share your performance and routes with your friends or strangers in real-time. You can even challenge others to complete the same route in better overall time. The phone in your backpack records your position, your speed, perhaps even your biometric data like heart rate and power output, and shares all this information instantaneously with your social network, your coach or your fans. Nokia phones are already offering something similar called the SportsTracker and are able to connect to Polar heartrate monitors. Watch where you are currently riding live on Google Earth! The implications for business are perhaps not readily discernible, but it seems obvious that centralized models will disappear. This will affect every supplier and every business. New business models will be devised, and everything will have to change with them. Companies must be designed so that they can quick- ly change along with their environments. Rigid top-down management systems Vive la Revolution! 41
  • 40. imposed on an equally rigid value-chain will be detrimental. The first signs are already evident. A convulsive entertainment industry is trying desperately to have a ban placed on decentralized distribution models such as the one used by Pi- rateBay in order to patch up leaky copyright laws. On the one hand, they are right, but on the other their stance seems grounded in sand. In any event, it is a lost cause. The new worker Web 2.0 places the main emphasis on the customer or “visitor.” This is a person outside the company, even though the external limits of a business are becoming increasingly more difficult to draw (as noted above). Many 2.0 companies are merely organizational frameworks that, as befits Web 2.0, crowd-source all their work. In this regard, we might almost forget that customers or visitors, who are also employees somewhere, would also like to reap the benefits of Web 2.0 in their own companies and work. On Web 2.0, they may collaborate with people who they do not know, who live all around the world, and who maintain completely different work-life rhythms and lifestyles. And they can do this without making prior ap- pointments and coordinating activities and agendas all day long. How different is that from their regular work, where collaboration is limited throughout the day by formalized processes (excessively) strict work flows, direct / synchronous commu- nications and enormous overloads, primarily in email. These are clear symptoms of an ill-used and excessively intricate bureaucracy. For some reason, people must repeatedly climb into their cars every morning and drive to pre-arranged locations in order to work together. Such activity is becoming increasingly infeasible because of the huge traffic jams and the currently snarled rail schedules. New workers want to work anywhere and anytime, at times and locations of their own choosing, and, although a whole bunch of new technology is available, this new way of working, as Microsoft calls it, has not really gotten off the ground. New workers also note the illogic that prevents them from accessing the social networks made up of their friends and acquaintances outside the company when they are at work. Old companies are still building concrete and virtual walls to shield themselves from the new world. 42 from crowd to Community
  • 41. Notes Vive la Revolution! 43
  • 42. 44 from crowd to Community
  • 43. 3 Web 2.0 No matter if its emergence is a revolution or an evolution (for the time being, let’s call it an evolution), Web 2.0 is having a huge social impact that will only grow in its significance. Conceptually, Web 2.0 can be described in various ways. Each concept can be characterized in terms of a triad: the name or identifica- tion of the concept, its characteristics8 and the collections of things being identified by the concept.9 It can be described by listing its properties (what biologists would call its phenotype10) or by enumerating the instantiations of the concept (what biologists would likely call its population). Later in the book, we will identify the properties of the Web 2.0 but below we will begin by just briefly surveying the landscape and describing what we see. We will thus map out the extension of the 2.0 concept. There is never only one viewpoint but usually multiple perspectives and often various filters providing additional information. An overall picture is created by combining these elements, appearances and views. Ross Dawson’s blog11 contains some beautiful “landscapes” of which we are showing two examples. Each divi- sion, each figure is as arbitrary as the next, but each one provides additional insights. For example, the figure below makes distinction in terms of the content that users supply, the filters that Web 2.0 sites use to segregate the most useful 8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intensional_definition 9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extension_%28semantics%29 10 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenotype 11 http://www.rossdawsonblog.com/weblog/archives/2008/08/four_great_visu.html Web 2.0 45
  • 44. content from noise and the tools provided to convert the filtered content into usable end products. The Web 2.0 landscape Figure (cc) Vincezo Cosenza / www.vincos.it An entirely different view is also possible, for example by concentrating on the conversation element. The result might then look as follows. 46 from crowd to Community
  • 45. The conversation element of Web 2.0 Figure (cc) Brian Solis / www.theconversationprism.com You can experience Web 2.0 “in the flesh” by visiting various social websites. Use this figure to examine how you experience Web 2.0. Web 2.0 47
  • 46. Social websites and social media Web 2.0 is very diverse; it is an ecosystem in the most literal sense of the word, constantly evolving. Some cristallized “concepts” have been formed in the course of this evolution—call them means of communication—each time recurring in the same basic form. The specific forms of these communication tools are strong- ly linked to certain recurrent communication needs of large communities. At this point, it would be valuable to briefly introduce a few of them. For the time being, we will limit ourselves to well-known media that are primarily concerned with content (e.g. texts, videos, photos, audio). There are of course numerous others, and some that are not just content-oriented. They include buddy lists, chat box- es, tag clouds and many others, but the foundations of any community are, in our opinion, based on the following. 48 from crowd to Community
  • 47. The Weblog Weblogs have perhaps been the engine of the Web 2.0 revolution. They “push” ideas, opinions and other messages such as news to the public. A weblog is a website on which brief posts are made with great regularity and high frequency, generally presented in inverse chronological order (latest on top). Visitors can then respond to the reports. A weblog is a typical one-to-many communication medium. The author of a story determines the subject and the way he or she wants to com- municate any message, and the community can then respond to this input. The possibility of responding provides the basis for conversations and has a communi- ty-building effect. Wikipedia describes a weblog as follows: A blog (a contraction of the term “web log”)[1] is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descrip- tions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. “Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Many blogs pro- vide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (Art blog), photographs (photoblog), videos (Video blogging), music (mp3 blog), and audio (podcasting). Microblogging is another type of blogging, featuring very short posts. As of December 2007, blog search engine Tech- norati was tracking more than 112,000,000 blogs. Large blogs are powerful opinion makers. Many “virals” originate their epi- demic on such a blog. Starting a blog is very easy. There are many possibilities, one of which involves using Blogger. Anyone can use Blogger, the weblog service from Google, to promptly start his or her own weblog in a few minutes. Web 2.0 49
  • 48. With a little more trouble, standard open source software like Wordpress and Drupal is easy to use in order to design a personal weblog that can, if necessary, grow into a full-featured social site. Forum Besides weblogs, forums are proven means of communication that we run across in more or less the same form at many places on the Web. A discussion forum is precisely what its name suggests, a place where anyone can initiate a new discus- sion, to which everyone else can then respond. Forums have a recognizable format and a simple layout. There is usually a main page displaying the topic lists for each category. It also exhibits the current dis- cussion topics, with the most recent responses shown first. Clicking a given discussion topic opens the relevant “forum thread” where all comments can be seen and responses added. Many companies that value the opinions of their own customers now have a forum on which complaints, suggestions and questions can be posted. The advantage of such a freely accessible forum is that it provides a place where visitors, along with company employees, can respond to questions and complaints. The activity on a forum can therefore also be used to keep a finger on customer demands. 50 from crowd to Community
  • 49. The Wiki A wiki is a communication medium that is exceptionally well-suited for collaboratively documenting events, processes, functionality and anything else that can be described, without someone coordinating the activity. The technology is such that many people can edit the “wikified”document while, at the same time, collaboratining on the writing of it. Wikis are, rightly or wrongly, seen as the panacea of the intelligent organization. Often the two are mentioned in the same sentence as if they were Siamese twins. Just as in the case of a forum, anyone can start an article. Unlike a forum, others are not expected to comment on the topic in separate responses, but to incorporate comments and responses in the article by revising and hopefully improving the original text. A wiki can be regarded as a kind of encyclopedia that everyone creates and maintains. But it is also a means for many people to work on a document at the same time, without the usual circulation of the latest versions by email. The best known wiki is Wikipedia, which is intended as a vehicle on which “store all the knowledge in the world.” The software that Wikipedia runs on, Media- Wiki, is available to everyone and is free and open source. In a corporate environment, a Wiki is ideal for collectively producing documents and for storing knowledge, and increasingly more companies are also using wikis to have anonymous visitors work on the documentation for their own products. After installation of the MediaWiki software, each company begins its own en- cyclopedia of knowledge, geared to its specific field of interest. The marketplace A marketplace is an auction or mediating facility in which the supply and demand of services or goods can be brought together. Many marketplaces have the form of an auction, but the actual format may depend on the type of goods and services involved. Anyone can offer goods or services, and everyone is allowed to bid or respond. In principle, the offers appear in inverse chronological order on the front page. Often the front page of an auction site is, like a forum, divided into categories. Offers that have found takers disappear from the marketplace. The most famous auction site in the world is eBay, which is also one of the largest websites in the world. In the Netherlands, the best known auction sites are marktplaats.nl and speurders.nl. Web 2.0 51
  • 50. Somewhat inexplicably, there is a rather slender selection of standard / open-source auction software, and no comparable communication media can be found in the corporate collaboration suites produced by ibm or Microsoft, for example. The media library Everyone knows YouTube. YouTube has now become a complete social platform, although it was initially started as a rather pure media center. It origi- nally offered users a means to store their video in a manner that made it very easy to reuse on other websites, and nothing more was intended. There was a communal front page and the opportunity to vote on items, but that was it. A straightforward library, lacking any social capabilities, in which video, photos and audio can be easily stored is just as much a communication medium as a blog, a forum or a wiki. Just like these media, it is a building block for more comprehensive websites. Video footage to be used in other parts of the site, such as blogs and wikis, can be stored in the library and then subsequently made available to other, external websites from there. Most commonly, this is done by ‘embedding’ such media on a website as if it is an integral part of that site, while the content is actually stored and run from the media-library. YouTube video is the best known internet video library and Flickr.com. the best known library for photography. The first integrated media libraries for audio, video, photos, documents and slide shows are starting to enter the mainstream (e.g. divshare.com). Any items that a user stores in such libraries (e.g. YouTube video) can be “embedded” into other websites, These types of mass storage web- sites can be simply and indiscernibly incorporated in individual websites so that the user’s of the individual websites can access the material without knowing it and without requiring website owners to develop their own systems for provid- ing the material. 52 from crowd to Community
  • 51. Social link dump or social bookmarking A link dump is a facility by means of which community members can share their bookmarks, possibly including a brief description of the content in ques- tion. Actually, this element was initially the original weblog, but blogs have now evolved into sites that place great emphasis on self-written articles, leaving space for the reintroduction of whatis now known as a link dump. Link dumps have become very popular, especially in combination with what has been labeled social voting, such as it occurs on the aforementioned digg.com and nujij.nl. In such cases, users evaluate the articles and construct a hierarchy of items. A purer form of a link dump is the immense del.icio.us The corporate use of link dumps holds great promise. The various divisions of a company, such as the innovation department, a group of product developers or a marketing team, can continuously share the most interesting bookmarks and keep each other abreast of new developments and trends. Any social voting mechanism then ensures that the most interesting items are given proper consid- eration for the site’s front page focusing what is called the wisdom of the crowd on this subject matter. Web 2.0 53
  • 52. Such a practice would result in a system that includes both bi (business intelli- gence) and ci (competitive intelligence) and that can be used for knowledge sharing in addition to the company’s wikis, for example. There is a small quantity of good open source software for social bookmarking like drigg,12 the digg clone for the Drupal cms. News aggregation Websites can automatically “broadcast” new articles or recent changes to other sites, or to special news readers (a kind of email-like program that collects news from websites) who have subscribed to the website’s news service or ‘feed’ as it is actually called. The mechanism behind it is called Really Simple Syndication (rss). Strangely enough, rss has never truly broken through13 but has nevertheless now become a piece of solid mainstream technology. Every modern website broad- casts rss information through its “news feeds.” A news aggregator is a website or application that displays the news from many other websites in reverse chronological order, possibly allowing opportunities for commentary. Users subscribe the aggregator to various news feeds from other websites, and every time there is a new article posted on these sites, an intro to it automatically appears on the aggregator. It is, in effect, an automated link dump. It is a communications tool that provides content without requiring editorial intervention. Again, a social voting mechanism can be used to select only the most interesting news for archiving. Like the link dump, it is a very useful com- munications medium in a corporate environment. Oddly enough, there are very few ready-to-use “server-side” news aggregators available and support for this functionality is rather meager in most cmss. Still, there are many client-side systems, such as Google Reader and Feedly. And they are, of course, socially oriented. Interesting news can be shared on social networks. 12 http://www.drigg-code.org/ 13 http://www.marketingfacts.nl/berichten/20061005_rss_een_sleeping_beauty/ 54 from crowd to Community
  • 53. The activity stream Twittering is one of the latest social crazes. It is sometimes called mi- cro blogging. At the moment, nobody knows exactly what Twitter is actually very useful for, and various uses are being made of the service. News services use it to help spread the news by means of yet another channel, afraid as they are of missing the boat at the launch of a new technology (the same thing that motivated them to adopt rss feeds, a far better technology for that purpose). Celebrities twitter to let everyone know what they are doing, how cool they are and just to collect as many friends as possible. Online reputation is now mainly a matter of having a very large social network, not necessarily a very useful one. Most people use it for a combina- tion of everything, sometimes to enable their network to share in their own lives, sometimes to alert the network to something nice. Ultimately, it should become clear that Twitter may be used to leave a stream of signals on which to float a new kind of collaboration, a topic to which we will devote an entire chapter of this book. There are many other types of social software capable of maintaining an activ- ity stream, and able to perform this function much more effectively. Twitter is currently an unstoppable fad, but if we look at the much larger Facebook, we see the same potential, though much more integrated and far more targeted. At the moment, Yammer has become relatively popular in our company. An activity stream is a list of activities, ranging from the banal to the surprising, that gives the people in your social network the feeling that they are in contact with you and you with them, without the need for direct communications. You are keeping in touch: that is what the communication medium seems to imply. And it works! Later in this book, we will describe how this seemingly superficial media has garnered interest in the corporate environment, as it unexpectedly has more added value in business than it does in the private sphere. The activity streams in personal private networks, are mainly filled by people with narcissist and exhibitionist bents the “see-me people.” Web 2.0 55
  • 54. Notes 56 from crowd to Community
  • 55. 4 The “Crowd” In the previous chapter we made a sort of detour through the accoutre- ments of the new web, surveyed several different sites and discussed some of the more firmly established communications tools. Under closer scrutiny, all the men- tioned sites and communication tools appear to have one thing in common… ...this collective feature is perhaps the most important part of the whole Web 2.0 phenomenon and the cornerstone of the social organization that we are going to “build” in this book. In each case, it is up to the users of these sites to furnish the added value. This way of having a crowd help you in your work is called crowdsourcing: outsourc- ing to an anonymous crowd. Perhaps the best example of crowdsourcing concerns the involvement of the crowd, in the development of open source software. The open source community has repeatedly demonstrated how large groups of peo- ple who do not know each other can still collaborate on software that ulti- mately has better quality than the best commercial products. No matter how the advantages of Web 2.0 are categorized or which features are mentioned as most useful, it is always the crowd element that all Web 2.0 shares in common. Apparently a crowd has become so very useful that everybody wants to have one of their own. The “Crowd” 57
  • 56. The Ron Paul revolution One of the finest examples that illustrates the power of a crowd took place around the most recent presidential election in the United States. In January 2008, the campaigns of the various U.S. presidential candidates were running at full strength. The candidates of both the Democratic and the Republican Parties were doing their best to convince the American people that they would make the best President. Most candidates on both the Democratic and Republican sides had al- ready fallen away, so the battle was to be decided by two Democrats (Hillary Clin- ton and Barak Obama) and three Republicans ( John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul). The crowd-control of Edward Bernays is not understood by anyone as well as industrial lobbyists and their media companies. In broadcasts around the presi- dential election, all media-expressions were full of subliminal signals. Every ques- tion asked by an interviewer or anchor was full of suggestion; no setting was randomly selected, no background was just a backdrop. Powerful symbolism in support of one candidate and distractive loser-symbolism aimed at “undesired” opponents were incorporated everywhere. Media experts saw it on almost all the channels, not just fox, but cnn and other stations around the world that received their material from one of the major news agencies. The average view- er had little chance under such an enormous onslaught of propaganda that was aimed at them without them being aware of it. Yet, a force appeared on the scene during this election whose power could compete with these highly-polished pr machines. It was a crowd, a disorganized group of people who did not know each other. There was a presidential candidate with the best intentions and one that had always acted according to them throughout the terms that he was gov- ernor. He was against aggressive foreign policy and against military interventions or operations abroad. He understood that the dollar was collapsing because the financial system was malfunctioning and that money not backed by gold com- bined with mega-inflation would be ruinous. He was for a “single” gold standard for money and against the Federal Reserve. He was also against big government 58 from crowd to Community
  • 57. and direct taxation such as income tax. He supported gay marriage and had qualified views about abortion, having brought more than 4,000 babies into the world as a doctor. This man was for personal freedom as long as it was not at- tained at the expense of others and spoke capably on this subject. His name was Ron Paul, and although the corporate-owned mainstream media did its level best never to mention his name, this neglect began at some point to become increasingly more difficult. A portion of the American people paid at- tention to Ron Paul’s views and became his enthusiastic supporters. His support remained absolutely massive and, at one point, enabled him to raise nearly as much money as the top candidates. While Obama, Clinton and McCain obtained their millions in large contributions mediated by well-paid lobbyists, Ron Paul’s funding was simply in the form of small donations from citizens, soldiers and veterans. Not industry but people gave tens of millions to Ron Paul! Ron Paul won almost all the sms and online polls. Ron Paul was also regarded as the win- ner of all the debates—although such evaluations are admittedly somewhat sub- jective. He won because he stuck firmly to the constitution, and America has an extremely good and thoughtful constitution. To argue with Ron Paul is to find oneself arguing with the constitution and the founding fathers. You can do it, but of course you don’t want to. It was perhaps for this reason that he was not invited to the large national tel- evision debates preceding the primaries. However, there are tens of thousands of Ron Paul fan clips on YouTube, many more than the other candidates; his name invariably appeared among terms like “iPhone” and “Britney Spears” in the tag- clouds of large social websites. Ron Paul had his own gigantic advertising blimp, helicopters flew his banners around the country and people placed signs bearing his name throughout America. At one point, in November 2007, Ron Paul spontaneously suddenly attracted so much money (4.5 million, then a record), that anonymous online supporters organized a second “money bomb” on December 16, 2007. Prior to the event, his supporters were already calling it the Ron Paul Tea Party in analogy to the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773, which is seen as the beginning of the American Revolution. Proceeds from the day were more than 6 million dollars, a new record that could not escape mention on cnn. This man was and is ex- The “Crowd” 59
  • 58. tremely popular, and yet very few have even heard of him. Isn’t that peculiar? Ask the editors of your newspaper how this could be possible. Much more unusual and particularly relevant in the context of this book is the fact that neither Ron Paul nor his campaign team organized any of these activi- ties. He did not make or pay for any of the thousands of spontaneous Ron Paul fan clips that he used in his campaign. Nor did he organize or fund any of the many spontaneous demonstrations, meetings and fund-raising events all around the world, from Asia to Europe, from Canada to Argentina! Even the huge blimp flying over the country was not something that he arranged or paid for himself. The only thing that Ron Paul did himself was to deliver an honest and clear message with mass appeal. Internet users are therefore purely and solely the ones that organized spontaneously and en masse; they were the driving force behind Ron Paul’s campaign! Isn’t that peculiar? A spontaneous initiative that was not managed by anyone, organized itself and developed the potential of becoming something acting as a counterweight to the greatest pr forces in the Amercian political arena, if only for the time being. It revealed the true power of the crowd. If the primaries and elections were held on the internet, Ron Paul would undoubtedly have become President. The only thing that Ron Paul yet has to do, is provide an explicit platform on which the “Ron Paul community” could emerge. For the first time in American history, this community would be a genuinely democratic political party. Bottom- up and organically grown, and consequently with its ideals penetrating deep into the roots of the organization. We are all ants With all the technology and all the websites and means of communi- cation such as wikis, forums and blogs, all of which we just reviewed, it is always the added value of the crowd that is at stake. Social software and all other Web 2.0 communication tools are primarily means of facilitating crowdsourcing. Set up the right facilities, ensure a pleasant climate, establish the right ecosystem and let the crowd loose there. Almost immediately, people show an ability to work together and turn out very fine, cool and useful things. And this occurs almost without direc- 60 from crowd to Community
  • 59. tion or interference. It is a form of collaboration that we would all like to experience in our companies, not only with regard to the external crowd, such as customers and website visitors, but also the internal crowd: our employees. But how do you bring this about? We already know how to control people or employees on an individual basis. You give them a function, some procedures, place them in a hierarchy of control, start the whole thing rolling and the entire machine runs in sync. The key words in such a procedure are “control” and “centralization.” An individual in a crowd is different; a crowd member is no longer a directly accountable individual occupying an identifiable position in a hierarchical structure. There is certainly structure, but it is volatile and designed along the lines of a network. In the case of a webcrowd like the one on YouTube or on digg, the members of the group are strangers, and they live in different places on earth and in different time zones. So how do you deal with this situa- tion? To answer this question, we will first try to discover the general laws gov- erning groups. Nature provides many examples of crowds, but let us examine just one of them: the example of the ant colony. It is not made up of one or a few ants, but a very large number of them. Ants are very limited creatures. They are insects with little or no scope for indi- vidual intelligent behavior. They are tiny borg drones that react purely instinc- tively to their immediate surroundings. If you’re not a Trekkie (a Star Trek fan) and do not know what a Borg is (shame on you), do not worry; think of emo- tionless workers who exist only in the service of the collective and communicate through a collective consciousness. The Borg assimilation process, by the way, is also not based on free will (see this as a tip). Ant colonies can be huge; there are well-organized ant colonies that stretch over areas of more than 100 square miles. The Ishikari colony in Japan consists of an estimated 300 million worker ants and 1 million queen ants, spread over 45,000 interconnected nests. It can be as- sumed with some confidence that none of the ants in the colony has any idea about the enormous size and complexity of this mass of insects. Let alone that one of them has the intellectual and communicative abilities required to manage it. None of the workers, not even one of the queens, has any overview of anything other than their immediate surroundings, and there is no central governing body controlling it. In contrast to the bureaucratic organizations that we humans tend to create (because we think that we are smarter than millions of years of evolu- tion), the control of the ant colony is completely decentralized. Each ant performs The “Crowd” 61
  • 60. its task, purely on the basis of very limited local incentives and certain instincts: a scent, the presence of other ants, food, enemies, temperature, light, vibration, perhaps the weather, but not much more. However, these immense communities are highly efficient organizations with complicated social structures. Despite their individual limitations, ants are capable of working as a collective to perform very intelligent activities.14 Ants find their way to food supplies by following the scent that other ants leave when they find food. The more useful tracks are marked by more ants, making the scent stronger and more attractive to the rest. Once the food source is depleted, the ants travel back along a differ- ent route looking for a different food supply and the track fades naturally. In this manner, routes compete against each other and the overall quality of the food track network remains high.15,16,17 As a group, ant colonies can even solve simple problems of a mathematical nature. When they drag away the corpses of their deceased comrades, they leave them in a place that is the greatest average distance from all the surrounding nest openings. This does not occur by chance, but happens every time. Similar collective intelligent behavior can be observed in other social insects, such as wasps, bees and termites. The underground nests of grass-cutter ants are huge buildings with an extensive labyrinth-like entanglement of corridors, complete with sophisticated internal climate control.18 On the outside, only a few “chimneys” are visible, but scientists who once filled such a nest with concrete and then carefully excavated it— without alerting the ants beforehand to the approaching calamity,—could not believe their eyes when they saw the complexity of the construction. Systems of chambers and what was effectively hot and cold plumbing ensured that tem- perature, humidity and the co2 composition was always at the best level through- out the colony, which had a volume as big as a large gym. 14 http://thinkorthwim.com/2007/05/02/ants-are-stupid-colonies-are-smart/ 15 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics 16 http://www.javatroll.com/Ants/ 17 http://onionesquereality.wordpress.com/2008/01/31/adaptive-routing-taking-cues-from-stig- mergy/ 18 http://thinkorthwim.com/2007/04/30/ants-an-incredible-documentary/ 62 from crowd to Community
  • 61. Consider a flock of starlings, a school of sardines or a swarm of mosquitoes: anyone can immediately imagine the chaotic movements of all the individuals in the flock, school or swarm, but there is a clear and simple mechanism regulating all this chaos into a collective order. On the basis of only three very simple rules, it is easy to simulate this behavior, a simulation that we call “boids”19 or “swarm simulation.” Each average Java or C++ programmer writes the corresponding program in less than a day. Each “boid” in the “swarm” is only concerned with three things: “1) Make sure you do not contact the next boid, 2) Follow the average direction of the boids in your immediate surroundings and 3) Make sure that you do not fly to far from the group.” Three simple rules make central con- trol unnecessary (admittedly, the swarm is also guided by external factors) while creating a strong organization that has its own behavior. The simulation is in widespread use in the film industry. Anyone who has seen the massive battle scenes in The Lord of the Rings or the herds of scaly fowl running around in Jurassic Park knows what swarm simulations look like. 19 http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids/ The “Crowd” 63
  • 62. In mathematics and biology, there is something like a cellular automaton20, a network of interconnected cells, each with its own state and behavior. Every cell in the network only knows about its adjacent cells and its state only changes in response to influences from these adjacent cells. Extremely complex systems can be simulated on the basis of such simple cells in large but simple “grids.” In this regard, complexity is the measure of observable behavior of the whole. The well- known computer game SimCity is based on such cellular automatons. A few years ago, SimCity enjoyed huge popularity in the pc world. Nowadays, the game runs on the iPhone platform and is again attracting throngs of fans. The collective has its own life But what do ant colonies, mosquitoes, sardines or cellular automata have to do with the internet and Web 2.0? The answer is simple: they are all crowds. Without immediately reducing individual Web users to the status of annoying insects or flighty fish, ant colonies, schools of fish, swarms and flocks have neverthe- less many things in common with a large group of internet users. A crowd is a crowd regardless of the species comprising the crowd. Every crowd has features in com- mon with all others. The main one is that crowds are not governed by a central control or authority (and are likely not governable by any such central authority), and there is a great chance that they are self-organizing. The members of a group do not have to possess any great knowledge of the whole and can quickly produce complex behavior or results by following a few simple but cleverly chosen rules or laws. The only thing that is truly necessary is localalized perceptiveness (or sensing), the right stimuli (incentives) and predictable reactions. 20 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_automata 64 from crowd to Community
  • 63. Another feature of a crowd is that the collective has control over the individuals. The strong influence of the collective on individuals participating in it, can for instance clearly be seen in ants. For example, the fact that the behavior of various types of ants, from queen to worker, depends on the age of their colony as a whole. The colony can be older than the individual ants, but newborn ants nev- ertheless adopt the behavior that suits the age of entire colony and not the one suited to the ant’s own age. If we scoop out a large percentage of one type of ant, say the worker type, thereby disturbing the optimal distribution of types, the newborn ants will automatically be of the worker type. Actually, this collective- to-individual-feedback need not surprise us, we all know how sensitive we are to the culture in a company concerning the latest trends in our business environ- ments; we rapidly change our behaviors to keep in step with the new surround- ings. Fashion, lifestyle and any other expression of Bernays’ theory are based on peer-pressure and therefore feedback of the whole to the parts. Almost all people feel inclined to fit in as best possible. Fertilized ova successively divide in a uniform manner until, after four or five cell divisions, they begin to differentiate into cells with specialized functions within the organs or body parts that will constitute the complete individual.21 Individual cells have no awareness of the group of cells to which they belong and in which they have separate roles. In this respect cells are mere cellular automa- ta. Since it is difficult to imagine how the relatively static genetic material (dna) of the cell can store the knowledge of the dynamically unfolding whole and of the role that the respective cells has in it, there must be some form of supercel- lular communication. Science is faced with a mystery here. Again. Epigenetics22 is an attempt to explain such supercellular links from a more holistic approach based on knowledge outside the cell. It suggests that even the experience of an- cestors somehow influences the genetics of descendants.23 Where might such external knowledge be stored and what types of feedback occur between the whole and the parts? There are theories claiming that our dna is only a re- ceiver / transmitter connected to external databases. You should realize that, while the human genome was unraveled during the Human Genome Project and all the genes are known, this knowledge only applies to the genes that actually encode proteins (read: contain building instructions to create new proteins, which 21 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_differentiation 22 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics 23 http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/ghostgenes.shtml The “Crowd” 65
  • 64. is the supposed function of dna). These genes only constitute 2% of the entire genome, the remaining 98% of the human genome is referred to as junk dna, so called because biologists believe it to serve no purpose.24 It is as if Mother Nature has stuffed us full of genes that have no function. But Mother Nature does not work that way. Like probably any combination of parts into a whole, crowds also have emergent behavior.25 Emergent behavior is spontaneously occurring recognizable and identifi- able pattern of behavior that arises when individual systems, (e.g. humans, animals, things and environments) are linked. By spontaneously occurring, we mean to suggest that no explicit guidance from others is needed to evoke the behavior. Examples of emergence are: Color (viewed in terms of chemistry): “Elementary particles do not absorb or emit specific wavelengths of light and thus have no color ; it is only when they are arranged in atoms that they absorb or emit specific wavelengths of light, and can thus be said to have a color.” Life (viewed in terms of biology) is also sometimes identified as an emergent property. Specific organisms: “[I]ndividual atoms can be combined to form molecules such as polypeptide chains, which in turn fold and refold to form proteins, which in turn create even more complex structures. These proteins, assuming their functional status from their spatial conformation, interact together and with other molecules to achieve higher biological functions and eventually create an organism.” 24 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_dna 25 http://www.vub.ac.be/clea/groups/vzw_worldviews/publications/vanbelle-emerg.html 66 from crowd to Community
  • 65. The state of nature: “Another example is how cascade phenotype reactions, as detailed in chaos theory arise from individual genes mutating respective positioning. At the highest level, all the biological communities in the world form the biosphere, where its human participants form societies, and the complex interactions of meta-social systems such as the stock market.” Source: Wikipedia Our favorite example however, is that of “water” or H2O. The fact that an ex- plosive and inflammable gas like oxygen and an explosive and inflammable gas like hydrogen combine into something that can be used to extinquish fires, can- not be predicted by analyzing the parts. The fact that water is liquid cannot be reduced to the properties of the water molecule itself. The resulting, non analyz- able behavior, is called emergent behavior because it spontaneous emerges out of nothing. Emergent behavior puzzles modern science, yet it is all around us, at all levels of scale. Almost all organizations and structures around us have observ- able emergent behavior in some form or another. It is not uncommon to compare such systems as a whole to organisms.26 In this case, we call them super-organ- isms. Organisms themselves are already the result of a high degree of emergence, and it is for this reason that Lord Kelvin27 exempted life from his formulation of the second law of thermodynamics (since organization cannot occur spontane- ously, there must be an outside energy source that organizes life). Emergence occurs by degrees. Pure emergent behavior is unpredictable and sub- sequently unanalyzable. Such systems could be thought to live. Examples include financial systems such as “the stock market,” biological ecosystems, large mete- orological systems, such as “weather” but also large corporations and all soci- ety in general. The controversial, award-winning documentary “The Corporation”28 makes it seem very likely that large corporations have their own personality, distinct from those of their directors and employees. Emergence ensures that they collectively have the character of a psychopath without anyone working there 26 http://www.i-sis.org.uk/hannove.php 27 http://www.ratical.org/co-globalize/MaeWanHo/biocom95.html#p1 28 http://www.thecorporation.com The “Crowd” 67
  • 66. being able to do anything about it. Imagine, companies like Shell, Exxon, Walmart or ing have the economic power of a small country,29 the personality of a psy- chopath and only one goal: to create shareholder value at the expense of (almost) everything. The economic crisis of 2009 made it clear that even capitalism itself is an emergent entity that devours itself. In this book, we assume that crowds can do things that none of the respective individuals or a multiplication of them is able to do. Hence, we will ascribe a mild form of emergent behavior to crowds. According to Artificial Intelligent (ai) scientist Francis Heylighen, it’s only a matter of time before the internet itself is self-conscious and eventually experi- ences its own feelings as well. The web would then be nothing less than a global brain, the true collective consciousness that it is now metaphorically described as being. And if the internet becomes truly self conscious, it is hoped that it does not then realize that it (or them) would be better off without the more than seven billion parasites that link into it. In the scifi film Terminator, the network called Skynet comes to this realization and turns against humanity. The network therefore sends Terminator machines from the future into the present. When, in the series based on this film, the cyborgs intended to sanitize us begin to look like the female terminator from The Sarah Conner Chronicles or Seven of Nine from Star Trek, we will, at least in a certain perspective, appear to be progressing. Futurologist and ai expert Ray Kurzweil30 has, for years, been predicting a similar scenario involving computers. It can hardly be doubted that self-aware computers will eventually exist. At that moment in time, a collection of dead parts will have, as a whole, a consciousness that cannot be traced back to any of the parts nor to the sum of them, They will therefore be exhibiting emergent behavior. The computing power to simulate the human brain will exist in 2012, and 10 years further on, a computer will have enough power to upload and launch human brain activity. 29 http://zapruder.nl/portal/artikel/more_power_to_the_corporations 30 http://singularity.com/aboutray.html 68 from crowd to Community
  • 67. In 2025, computers will be able to run the human brain as a program. Will they then also be self-conscious? Figure (cc) Ray Kurzweil / www.kurzweiltech.com Emergence is completely compatible with a concept that may be more familiar to many people known as holism.31 Holism, an idea first fully developed by Aristotle, states that the properties of a system cannot be fully explained by its parts alone and that the whole largely determines how the parts behave. Emer- gence is a concept that will transform science, which is still dominated by reduc- tionist reasoning according to which everything, no matter how complex, is mechanical and can be viewed as a sum of its parts. This still dominant paradigm of the “clockwork universe.” Is continuing to govern the way scientist think, the way that we see the world and even, as we will view it into the future, as well as the way that we tend to organize collaboration. But there are important new insights. Chaos theory32 reveals that even simple deterministic (previously thought predictable) systems display (apparently) haphazard behavior and fractal math- ematics33 makes it clear that it is not always possible to add up parts in order to arrive at a whole. A fractal has infinite parts at infinite levels of aggregation. Even 31 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holism 32 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory 33 http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal The “Crowd” 69
  • 68. quantum theory now requires terms to describe the feedback from a whole to the parts, developing concepts such as “ether,” “x-ether.” “ether waves”34 and the zero-point field mechanisms are cautiously making comebacks as mechanisms for time and distance-independent interactions. This in addition to the concept of “entanglement,” which has been in use’ for some time. It is conceivable that collectives also possess a consciousness, a collective con- sciousness, which refers to a whole range of things, from collective memory to collective genes, all suggestive of some kind of emergent quality. For where do the grass-cutter ants acquire the knowledge needed to build such complex struc- tures? The ants have no idea of the role they play in the whole. Which mechanism is at work that fuses individuals into a smart self-organizing collective? The example of ants maintaining the best possible network of routes to food can be explained using a phenomenon called stigmergy (communication via the environment).35 Even Tom Thumb understood the principle behind it. For the sustainability of evolutionary theory, it poses however quite a problem, as species appear to evolve not just on the basis of improved individuals but also on the basis of improved collectives since no one ant can start a stigmergic process on its own. Furthermore, the step from using odor as a tracking aid to building unbelievably well designed structures like the grass-cutter ants is still a big one. How does a whole exercise any influence over its parts? The current state of sci- ence cannot provide us with any answers here, and we must therefore resort to more esoteric concepts. One example is provided by the morphogenetic fields of Rupert Sheldrake.36 He argues that “formative” information is stored in morphic fields to which organisms and other structures are “tuned.” But there are many other elegant theories about collective memory. In this respect, we have plenty of choice. The Akasha Chronicles37 is a mythical name for the collective memo- ry containing all human knowledge and the complete history of the entire cosmos. From Star Wars, we know of “The Force” and the Jedi masters who know how to make clever use of it. “Use the Force Luke, the Force ” In traditional Chinese culture, there is Qi,38 the life energy that forms and permeates all things. In 34 http://www.wbabin.net/sukh/aether.htm 35 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigmergy 36 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphic_field 37 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akashic_records 38 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qi 70 from crowd to Community
  • 69. modern quantum theory, there is room for a holistic entanglement in the form of above-mentioned ether waves, which relate everything in the universe to eve- rything else without the restrictions of speed and distance. Collective Intelligence Quotient (cq) No matter if it involves emergence of collective consciousness or sim- ply complex determinism with a touch of chaos, a crowd as an entity in itself has special talents that we do not immediately recognize in its parts. These talents can be used. A frequently-cited familiar example in the Web 2.0 context (taken from the 2004 book The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki), concerns Francis Galton, one of Darwin’s cousins, who was a math- ematician, anthropologist, tropical explorer, geographer, inventor, meteorologist, geneticist, inventor, statistician and psychometrician. In 1906, Galton39 visited a livestock market where an ox was on display. The ox was the subject of a game that immediately caught his attention. The villagers were invited to guess the weight of the ox and more than 800 of them made a guess. None of the estimates accurately matched the ox’s actual weight (1198 pounds), and the range of the guesses was, of course, enormous. Would you be able to gauge the weight of a random cow in a pasture? Although no individual in the “crowd” knew the exact weight, the crowd as a whole possessed this knowledge, as the average of all the estimates was, in fact, 1197 pounds, almost the exact weight of the ox. Every crowd has special talents that can be cleverly exploited. In the least, crowds can break down the inhibiting group-think of your own specialist teams. Group- think40 is the phenomenon of team members often tending to reach consensus by contributing conflict-avoiding solutions and opinions rather than critical and informed views. The talents of a crowd, the crowd iq, are increasingly being identified as cq or the collective intelligence quotient.41 cq is a factor that var- ies with the size of the crowd, the independence of its opinions and personal news-gathering activities and the diversity of its composition. 39 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Galton 40 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groupthink 41 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collaborative_intelligence The “Crowd” 71
  • 70. Crowd-control: channeling talent Crowds cannot be controlled by a central authority but they can be manipulated by controlling their environment. In our everyday life, we are con- stantly being influenced without realizing it. This is done by applying marketing principles and propaganda. It is an subliminal type of control and therefore, for the most part, goes unnoticed by us. Without pr and propaganda, our democracies would not function. Many “crowd control” mechanisms are indirect and imperceptible. They often operate at a subliminal level, aimed at our subconscious and therefore not con- sciously noticeable. Anyone curious about the pervasiveness of such control needs only to search for Derren Brown on YouTube.42 Those unfamiliar with the prin- ciples behind his work might, when viewing his skills for the first time, well think that he has paranormal if not extraterrestrial abilities. Derren is so unbelievably good, such an incredible virtuoso, that even if you know the principles behind his work, you might still think that he has paranormal if not extraterrestrial abilities. Derren “reads” the impact that the environment and recent perceptions have on a person with such great accuracy that he is almost without fail able to predict the responses that a given person will have to specific stimuli.43 Brilliant is the fragment in which he is able to preset the thinking of experienced advertis- ers, themselves masters of subliminal control, so that it complies with what he predicted. He performs this stumt by unconsciously exposing them to subliminal signals en route to the studio. Crowds can be controlled, transformed and played with by constructing frame- works, establishing the preconditions, manipulating their environments, gradu- ally implementing changes, and playing with them. The best way of understand- ing how this works is perhaps by regarding the crowd as an organic whole that evolves in a given ecosystem according to a few mechanisms. Although it may not be possible to control the behavior of the crowd directly, the mechanisms and the ecosystem can be manipulated and, in this way, the direction of the crowd can, in fact, be channeled. This technique takes more time and is indirect, but it is at least as powerful, to say the least. 42 http://www.derrenbrown.co.uk/ 43 http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZyQjr1yl0zg 72 from crowd to Community
  • 71. The first paragraphs of the book Propaganda by Edward Bernays, the father of crowd-control, states the following: The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas sug- gested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of hu- man beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet. They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take to- ward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who un- derstand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. This work has laid the foundation for modern societies and the doctrine is ac- tively applied by virtually all governments and corporations on earth. Edward Bernays and Milton Friedman—the promoter of the aggressive type of “free market” capitalism that we see today—are in some ways the most influential people of the past one hundred years, along with Frederick Taylor, who we will introduce later on. Disregarding the political implications and social desirability, it is interesting to note that our governments already view and control us as crowds, this in addition to the more obvious and more direct mechanisms that we call “democracy.” Such crowd control occurs in ways similar to those used on the advertisers chosen by Derren Brown in the example that we mentioned earlier. Like them, we are left the illusion or believe that we are thinking inde- The “Crowd” 73
  • 72. pendently when in fact we are programmed to think in specific ways. The ad- ministrative elements in a society contain very many active control mechanisms: some direct others indirect. This is not so entirely different from practices in companies comprising both a bureaucracy and an active social side, although companies tend to have an extremely dominant bureaucracy, which is precisely not the case in a society. Before we mobilize “our” crowd, it would be wise to think about the frameworks that we are setting up and the steering mechanisms that we are going to use. At the largest scale represented by a society, propaganda and pr function very well. On the internet (or intranet), these frameworks and mechanisms these must in- volve the establishment of the website where a crowd hangs out. Such a thing is certainly possible on the scale of the organization, and we will provide specific details about how to do it below. The behavior of an Internet crowd may be influenced by the proper design of the website. Operation, interaction design and the functionality of a website form the framework within which to channel a crowd and it is this framework that we can manipulate. In this way, we can in- directly manage the evolution of the crowd. In Part 2 of this book, we will in- troduce the methodology specifically intended to develop websites that are suit- able as “crowd control” instruments and that can, subsequently, take your organization to the next phase. It is in this more advanced phase that a com- pany complements its bureaucracy by developing an organic, more “holocratic” side. The whole subject of crowds is extremely stimulating and inspiring, especially in relation to these holistic characteristics, and a basic understanding of it will certainly belong to the future skills required by each manager “2.0.” 74 from crowd to Community
  • 73. Notes The “Crowd” 75
  • 74. 76 from crowd to Community
  • 75. 5 Socializing with the crowd For those accustomed to operating in a hierarchical, top-down managed environment with controllable communications and central coordination, learning to deal with self-managed crowds and communities involves making a serious adjust- ment. Each community has its own manners and culture, and these factors are part of the previously described manifestations of emergent behavior. In any case, they comprise a self-forming and evolving set of values and norms that do not necessar- ily have to run parallel with existing business ethics. Few ceos and boards can deal with these issues, the new freedom of the workers appearing, too often as a threat that must be suppressed. Gently suppressed, because the same directors and ceos simultaneously realize only too well how easy it is to become the subject of a bogey “viral,” a fear that makes them appropriately cautious but improperly nervous. In the first days of blogging, businesses did not know how they should deal with employees who had their own blogs, especially if the posts were also about work. Office warrior (fragment) “Hi” “Hi” Socializing with the crowd 77
  • 76. “You know that here the first person to eat is also supposed to set the table for all” “Of course” “From now on, would you please set the table if you are the first to sit down?” “No” He stood behind me, I didn’t see him, but his deep breathing betrayed his emotions. “That’s the way things work here” “But won’t I then always have to set the table, because you always wait until I go eat first? I don’t think so. Just do your own place at the table” Others were now entering. Unperturbed, I remained seated with my back to them. Picked up a glass of milk, which tasted good. Milk contains many important nutrients, including essential amino acids and calcium. I drink a lot of it. “You have no respect, (last name)” “I was just trying to explain things to you nicely, but it seems not to have sunk in. From now on, just make sure that you set your own table and I won’t get annoyed when I come to sit down. I’m the first to come here because I want a bit of peace and quiet while eating” The others were now watching what was going on. Nothing unexpected. After all, they had all been waiting until they no longer were the first to enter the lunch room. “Especially since you have just started working here, I suggest you’d be wise to set the tables!” 78 from crowd to Community
  • 77. Unmoved, I ate my Duo Penotti sandwich and, began the next one. I contin- ued to sit with my back to them, and instinctively visualized the position of all seven people present. I was used to combining the information provided by my senses into a mental radar screen. The smallest noises, the weakest beams of light, nearly imperceptible temperature differences, and fluctua- tions in ventilation. I never miss a thing. In my work, as a programmer, I can’t afford to. A compiler mercilessly penalizes any errors. “do it now (last name)! “now!!” I didn’t move. These situations were child’s play for me, I’ve been well trained. I had more than 17 years of it experience, including the necessary practical training. I had the debugging background and coding skills that you can proudly tell your children and grandchildren about. I decided not to wait any longer. In one smooth motion I stood up, came two feet off the ground and with a simple roundhouse kick, smashed the jaw of Richard, 35-year-old technical designer. Richard had no chance, no one could blame him for being knocked out. I packed enough power in this kick to floor an ox without any problem. I heard the radio in the background. Tiesto’s Just be. Delicious, I just let it act on me. After the break the music becomes exquisite. Even before Richard fell over the table with a dull thud, I landed softly on one leg and spun one more time. William stood right behind Richard. And I had no problem shattering his larynx. Although my heel left very little of the cartilage structure in his throat intact, William unexpectedly remained on his feet. He was 6’2” and weighed 260 lbs and programmed in Java. To be certain, I deftly landed six, or seven quick and powerful punches in his solar plexus. Short, straight jabs against which no defense was possible. Bullet-time style, my trademark. His constricted diaphragm combined with his crushed larynx proved such a great obstruction to his breathing that William’s knees slowly but surely began to buckle, toppling William to the ground on which he would never stand again. His gasping breath subsiding into a quiet death. An oxygen-starved brain, passing through a series of pleasant hallucinations. I allowed William this final bliss; he had been a likeable fellow, and I decided not to take further action against him. I might be cold-blooded but certainly not heartless. Socializing with the crowd 79
  • 78. The above excerpt is exciting to read. Written somewhat in the manner of a Mar- vel comic book with deliberately overdone slow-motion streams of thought. Com- pletely over the top. On first impression, nothing apparently out of place. The relevant story was actually based on an encounter that really happened, in which there was, of course, no physical contact between the main characters. The blog was posted on a personal weblog with the permission of a number of colleagues who where mentioned by first name.44 During a brief preview, some of them vol- unteered to suffer an even more spectacular death, “perhaps something with gush- ing arteries.” The management of the company employing the author and free-lance software developer felt that it provided good reason to get rid of overly expensive employees in a poorly performing and overstaffed project. They claimed that the story had so terrorized the other employees that it was no longer possible to allow the author into the building. Large blogs soon got wind of the story and before long it kicked up a big fuss, attracting a lot of media attention. The incident took place at a time when similar incidents were occurring in America (a Delta Airlines stewardess posted photos of herself in sexy poses on board a Delta Airlines aircraft on her blog).45 In retrospect, it can now be said that, in the vast majority of the cases, the only real problems were subsequent responses by the managers involved. Nowadays, these types of occurrences will no longer lead to such incidents. Nvidia Internal communities are, of course still directly controllable (although you should actually not want to exercise such control), but external communities such as clients or customers, can absolutely not be told what to do. On the con- trary they might even act with great hostility to any effort at overt manipulation. Nvidia is a manufacturer of what are normally good and fast-operating graphic and sound cards, but at one point one of their products was not entirely flawless when run on the then new Windows Vista. The drivers of the hardware did not function properly, and many users experienced problems with then. The support forum started to fill up with complaints and requests for software upgrades. Nvidia could not immediately comply and began to regard complaints on the support forum as undesirable experiences. It did something that it ought not to have done; it removed 44 http://patricksavalle.com/artikel/office_warrior/ 45 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/27/delta_blog_grounded/ 80 from crowd to Community
  • 79. unwanted “threads” from the forum.46 Within days, users started their own forum, much bigger, beyond the control of Nvidia and with more complaints. They also started a class-action suit, a group lawsuit on behalf of injured consumers. Nike Nike, the sports shoe and apparel manufacturer, spared no effort to meet customer requests for a new personal shoe design. The shoe configurator was a cool piece of web design. Any color, combination of colors, size and anything else that might be included on a shoe was configurable and the result immediately and interactively visible. A brief personal comment could make the shoe entirely unique. A press of a button causes the shoes to be delivered to you within a few days. Pay- ment occurred online of course. “sweatshop” ...that is what Jonah Peretti wanted to have on his shoes. This was intended to protest against the child labor practices of Nike. Nike, the same company that can pay hundreds of millions of dollars to soccer teams in order to have them run around in Nike clothing, cannot arrange for its third-world workers to receive a decent wage. Nike had four simple rules with which the text had to comply and this text complied with all of them. Nike still refused to print the text and had the bad luck that Jonah was a tal- ented letter writer, a persistent activist (at least in this case) and a blogger as well. A farcical correspondence between the Nike pr department and Jonah was the result.47 Other blogs picked up on the incident, and it was estimated that 10 mil- lion people read the correspondence at the time. A costly mistake by Nike. These kinds of incidents have in fact an extremely “long tail.” From: Jonah H. Peretti To: Personalize, nike id Subject: re: Your nike id order 46 http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/03/0110248 47 http://www.cleanclothes.org/companies/nike01-02-16.htm Socializing with the crowd 81
  • 80. Dear nike id, Thank you for the time and energy you have spent on my request. I have decided to order the shoes with a different id, but I would like to make one small request. Could you please send me a color snapshot of the 10-year-old Vietnamese girl who makes my shoes? Thanks, Jonah Peretti Response 1.0 versus response 2.0 What do these incidents have in common, except that they lead to conflict? The wrong response! 1.0 Managers are still living under the assumption that the reputation of their company can be destroyed by the occasional unwanted statements by loners. And they are right. Joep van ’t Hek can be held personally responsible for the collapse of the Buckler brand of beer. “A bland non-alcoholic beer for sissies. Not for real men.” At least that was the view of the comedian which, unfortunately for Heineken, had an infectious effect.48 Managers certainly have a reason to be afraid of unwanted statements, but the question is what is then the best way of containment. Ban everything beforehand? Control and establish rules creating a climate of repression that prevents any single initiative from germinating? Or basically allow everything and then if something unwanted happens, retrospec- tively try to give it a playful twist knowing that most unpleasant incidents will not even reach the outside world and will only have a half-life of at most a few days? In any case, trying to suppress the incident by intimidation, censorship and other repressive measures is certainly the wrong response. A crowd reacts generally very poorly to coercion. When anonymous, not present in person and behind an Inter- net connection, many people suddenly become very brave. Because McDonalds has a lot of money but does not like to give any of it away, they were clever when they were confronted with the flash mob phenomenon. A flash mob is a very local and temporary public community. Unknown and unconnected individuals use sms, email and other one-on-one communications 48 http://youtube.com/watch?v=Kyrvvajavji 82 from crowd to Community
  • 81. media to organize themselves into a “mob.” The aim is usually a harmless prank.49 One of the first flash mobs emerged seemingly from nowhere in a Toys R Us store,50 where suddenly 1,000 people knelt and began to worship the life-size animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex. The store staff reacted in panic by switching off the T-Rex and calling the police. Response 1.0 McDonalds responded more cleverly, when they were confronted with a similar prank. In a few months, various German franchises of MacDonald’s were “hit” by flash mobs. All of sudden, more than 1,200 men would be standing at a coun- ter wanting to order a Big Mac or hamburger. Some forums mentioned crowds of as many as 4,000 individuals: a considerable number for the average McDon- alds outlet to handle. After the first occurrence, franchise managers were informed of the problem and advised to view any such “hit” as a positive challenge. It provided MacDonald’s with a great deal of favorable publicity. ard, a German television network, was able to show how employees worked like crazy to grill burgers and retrieve new supplies from basements. Franchise managers switched on extra grills. This televised activity was undoubtedly staged, but its lack of authenticity did not seem to matter at the time. In retrospective, it was a memo- rable moment for both the mob and mobbed. And was certainly better than a showdown with the police. Of course, it remains uncertain if the practices of giving a free meal to any customer having to wait longer than 15 minutes re- mained in effect on these occasions. Toys’ R Us should not have called the police but the press. They should have treated participants to a cup of coffee. Or tea if necessary. Throughout the year they are always trying to lure as many people as possible into their stores and the large numbers of people now entering the store were all of a sudden being asked to leave. Make up your mind! The Nike case is different, as the problem involved is a lot deeper. Nike was be- ing accused of hypocrisy, even criminal behavior, and this censurable activity could not be changed fast enough. In the documentary “The Corporation,” Michael Moore offered to accompany the ceo of Nike, Phil Knight, to Indone- sia—fly with him there business class and stay in five star hotels while making 49 http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3625344 50 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3134559.stm Socializing with the crowd 83
  • 82. inspections of Nike’s sweat shops (i.e. factories) in that country.51 Phil had nev- er been in any of Nike’s many sweatshops, and had never seen with his own eyes how his shoes were being manufactured under miserable conditions and for scandalously low pay. At the time when the decision had to be made, he prob- ably thought that, if he acted as if everything was all right and not go inspect the production facilities, he would get away with it. Phil refused to go with Michael. But Michael Moore received an invitation to travel with him a few months later to...a golf tournament in Australia. The problem here is basic and only avoidable in one way: accepting social and moral responsibility. The above does not mean that Nike is less socially committed than any other company. On the contrary, the same documentary, “The Corporation”, also clear- ly shows that every large company has basically the same evil “genes.” When ana- lyzed as a person, a multinational appears to have the personality of a psychopath. All multinationals! They enjoy revenue as large as the national product of a small country and have only one goal: to create shareholder value no matter what. Due to their legal structure, big organizations not only act like they have a single, very powerful, evil person, they are legal persons. Large corporations represent prime examples of the emergent behavior discussed above. It can be assumed that none of the employees at Nike agrees with any decision to use child labor—at the worst, they surrender to the very easy compulsion in modern society to just close their eyes and wait for the next episode of their favorite tv show. However, the com- pany as a whole makes the decision, acting under the effects of emergence. Likely, such “offences” are only considered by the company as a whole in terms of finan- cial considerations counterbalancing the savings and possible fines, as no one will be held personally liable. Like any community, multinationals display emergent behavior. Without any evolving or framing factors to guide or limit this behavior, it may even come to dominate every corporate decision. Viral communications A community is a wonderful mechanism for obtaining a great deal for very little. For example, it can enact a huge marketing campaign without requiring much money or effort. Word of mouth advertising by internet communities is much stronger than most other dissemination methods because people communicating 51 http://youtube.com/watch?v=coi0V4krciq 84 from crowd to Community
  • 83. with each other can have an infectious effect. Cool content and trends can and will spread throughout a community at lightning speed without requiring any explicit push or strategy. This is called viral communications, and the craze that infects the community is called a viral, as it concerns information that spreads like a virus. The analogy is of course with the transmission of the biological virus. A bio- logical virus is a passive piece of encapsulated genetic material (dna or rna) that has receptors enabling it to “stick” to other cells. In this way, the virus in- corporates its genetic material in the host cell, using this cell to replicate its own dna and, subsequently, infecting more cells. An epidemic occurs when an in- fected person infects more than one other person, and the process persists for a sufficiently long time. Such viral effect also requires sufficient contact, sufficient infectivity (viruses that infect others through the air are more infectious than sexually transmitted diseases) and sufficient susceptibility (not everyone becomes sick from the same virus). Infectious diseases are characterized by their exponen- tial rate of transmission: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, etc. A viral advertisement or a viral video is put together so that communities feel compelled to share it with others. The transmission can hardly be controlled but, if a viral catches on, it provides a very cheap way of marketing that can quickly have an extensive reach and an extremely large impact. The processes involved in this case are not genetic but memetic. Memetics is the study of the evolution of culture and ideas in a manner that is analogous to genetics.52 By far the best viral ever was the Star Wars kid.53 It is estimated that this viral has been viewed by one billion people, and we mean one billion times. Such expo- sure is the ultimate dream of any pr department. The clip did not cost anything. Its technical quality is poor. Nevertheless, it is the most successful clip ever. The internet community started making parodies, which only increased the success of the original. The Star Wars Kid vs. Agent Smith (The Matrix), the Star Wars kid vs. Yodi (Star Wars), Star Wars kid in Psycho, the Hulk, there were even episodes of cartoons in which the Star Wars Kid made his appearance. Even news channels like cbs and bbc, and newspapers like the New York Times paid attention to the kid. The clip was made by a teenage boy in a video cabin at his school during a rush of inspiration that hit him after seeing Star Wars. Assuming that it would all 52 http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetics 53 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_kid Socializing with the crowd 85
  • 84. remain anonymous, he used a golf ball retriever as a light saber and began handling his matchless light sword to kill virtual enemies. In all his enthusiasm, however, he forgot to erase the recording from the video tape recorder. Schoolmates found the video and then placed it online with the resulting, huge viral effect. The parents of the boy were less enamored by the action and did not take it at all too kindly. After a brief court case, an out-of-court settlement was reached with the families of the boy’s classmates. The settlement amount is estimated at 150,000 Canadian dollars. Astroturfing Many webshops allow users to write reviews about products. This move is a smart one, allowing the community to inform its own members without com- mercial bias. It is of great added value to your website, especially when you deliver a good product. Amazon has been doing it for years. The community is very suspicious of outsiders. It only trusts its own members, certainly not any marketers or manu- facturers. Hence, more and more webshops are providing the opportunity for these user reviews. The reviews are considered more reliable than the information that a manufacturer provides, and many manufacturers are therefore tempted to manipu- late such reviews, to have their own people write them or even have them produced by their pr department. These contributions, which are of course all very positive, are then passed off as items written by members of the community. This form of undercover marketing or astroturfing (astro turf is a synthetic turf that pretends to be real grass) works well but is dangerous, since sooner or later someone will dis- cover the deceit and then cook the company’s goose. Astroturfing is nothing new; it is similar to the false-flag operations54 that have been dominating terrorism and warfare for ages. Blaming the other side for atrocities they perpetrate themselves. Sony has had the most amazing commercials for years. Did you ever have the idea that PlayStation was initially prevented from being sold internationally because it was contrary to laws that prohibit export of high-grade military technology?55 We don’t think such an idea was ever really true. More likely, it was a great marketing ploy, which gave the ultra hi-tech device an almost top- secret aura. Or did you ever really believe that Sony’s video cameras were re- 54 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag 55 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/716237.stm 86 from crowd to Community
  • 85. moved from the market because their night vision mode could be used to see through thin summer dresses and fabrics like canvas? Such notions were never true, but they gave the devices some of the features of X-ray glasses, which everyone wanted at the time. Recently, Sony decided to go a step further. Since the crowd only trusts its own members, there may be some benefit from pretending to be one of them. Sony hired specialized stealth-marketing agency Zipatoni to create a fan blog for their new psp. Only, the people who wrote it were not true fans, but marketing employees. The site was too slick, the stories too positive and the real fans quickly figured the ruse out and condemned it as shameful. They experienced it as an insult to their intelligence, and Sony was caught with its pants down.56 They were fur- thermore dumb enough to register the blog domain www.alliwantforxmasisap- sp.com in their own name. Recently, the Nintendo Wii game controller became a phenomenal success among the other attractively presented controllers / joysticks that come pouring out of video screens.57 The Wii is a game console that is controlled by body movement. Alone, in pairs or as a quartet, you can box, play tennis, bowl and much more. Shortly after the release, many articles were posted on the blogs about children who, in the heat of battle, accidentally threw their controller through the brand new 42 “flat screen.” This generated huge (viral) attention for the device. It is of course per- fectly feasable for a manufacturer or its ad- vertising agency to organize or instigate such media frenzy. Or it is clearly extreme- ly easy to jump on the bandwagon when such commotion arises all on its own. 56 http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/index.php/id;151875684 57 http://www.wiidamage.com/ Socializing with the crowd 87
  • 86. Community resistance Are you afraid already, of your own crowd? Do you begin to hesitate to roll out any blogs, wikis and forums within the organization? What if you your- self are the target of their anger, ridicule or ingenuity? Do not be afraid. To start off with, if it happens or can happen to you, then it will also happen to a competitor at some point. This levels the playing field. To a certain extent, it is part of the game. The question is not whether it will hap- pen—it will certainly happen at least once—the question is how to deal with it. To put it simply, there are very good measures to be taken in advance. In many of the above cases that go wrong, the “perpetrators” knew of course beforehand that there was a risk associated with their actions. They should have known that things might go awry, as a crowd is surprisingly inventive and ultimately difficult to fool. The solution is actually quite simple. Here are some rules that can help you to deal with your community: 1 The community always sees through you 2 The community will call you to count 3 The community only trusts itself 4 You cannot beat them, you must join them! This means that there is only one “continuously foolproof Web 2.0 strategy,” which is to remain morally and socially incorruptible. Not very sexy perhaps. No astroturfing. No undercover activity or manipulation of grassroots58 movements (you will have to wait until they spontaneously arise). However, it is the only way to make sure that you can rely, under any circum- stances, on that which each community will ultimately respects: a clean conscience and the intention to do what is right! Integrity and honest behavior are forever and understandable by everyone. And if things ever run out of control, consider using or recasting the incident to your advantage, Perhaps Heineken should have adopted the term Buckler drink- er as a nickname; in this way, the company could have latched onto the public- 58 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grassroots 88 from crowd to Community
  • 87. ity that was occurring. We can imagine an advertising campaign for the brand that is maybe, to our mind, on the verge of being socially distasteful. It displays a series of accidents that might be avoided by the unimpaired Buckler drinker but not by the drinker of competitor beers. If kept at the level of suggestion, without too much blood, it might be very effective in turning a bad thing into a Heinekens advantage. Recently, there was an ad for Bolletje bakery products in which a fictitious spokesperson was named Sonja and identified as a baker (in Dutch: bakker). The onscreen caption was: “Sonja, bakker van bolletje.” The real Sonja Bakker, known for her “Sonja Bakker diet” was not so pleased with the confusion that was seemingly invited. The name had to be removed from the ad. In response, Bolletje ran a prime-time announcement (during the half-time inter- val of a European Championship soccer final) having its apology stated by Dick, “advocaat van Bolletje” (advocaat is Dutch for lawyer and the coach of the Dutch National soccer team is named Dick Advocaat).59 It is very possible that the advertising agency staged the whole affair and that Sonja was even co-conspiring with Bolletje, as she also garnered favorable atten- tion as a result, and this free of charge. 59 http://reclamewereld.blog.nl/regelgeving/2008/06/09/sonja-bakker-spoof-bolletje-moet-van- de-buis-van-humorloze-dietiste Socializing with the crowd 89
  • 88. Notes 90 from crowd to Community
  • 89. 6 The new way of working together Are you already fed up with hearing about ants? Don’t be! We can learn a lot from them. They have already been around 100 million years longer on earth than humans, so they must be doing “something” right. Ants are the true super power on earth. Not we humans. They easily surpass humans in numbers and bio- mass, and unlike humanity, they produce no non-biological waste and do not exhaust their ecosystem, two practices that will ensure that they will outlive us (unless we sweep them away in our fall). The ants of the Pampas in Argentina eat more grass than the large herds of cows grazing there. The ants of the African savannah eat more meat (in the form of other insects) than all the big cats living there. Their relative strength, their efficiency, the tricks that they can employ, make them special and fascinating creatures. Ants are the only species besides humans that have do- mesticated pets. There are nomadic species of ants that carry their cattle, honeydew producing aphids from tree to tree with them and even protect them against rain and storms. In the context of social awareness, the documentary entitled “Ants, Nature’s Secret Power”60 is a must-see. 60 http://www.documentary-log.com/watch-online-d/67/ants-natures-secret-power/ The new way of working together 91
  • 90. From chaos to perfection Ants are all individually special, but they are obviously not very smart. If a fire threatens the grass-cutter ants, they still continue working at their tasks until they are burned. The drones are small nanotech machines programmed with simple responses to a limited number of stimuli. In this regard, there are many more talented and more thoughtful species on the earth. But where ants really excel, what makes them into an undisputed master race, is their capacity for mass collaboration! They constitute what may be described as a super organism, which surpasses all those other talented individual organisms, Ants are social: “individually stupid, collectively smart, opposite to man,” With hundreds working together, ants operate as an army in search of new food, for example. In large numbers, they project their antennas out of the nest and go off on their search in random directions. One goes left, the other right. Absolutely chaotic they run in all directions, without any plan- ning, without any coordination. Until a single success occurs, then something spe- cial happens. An ant grabs some food and brings it back to the nest and, while returning, it leaves a scent trail, a capacity that has been provided them by nature. The next ants sticking their antennas outside the nest will pick up the scent and cannot resist following it. Nature has made them that way too. They simply follow the scent and find the food in one straight dash. In returning from the food source, they also leave their scent, which reinforces the existing track, providing even more incentive for more ants to obtain their food there. At some point in the life of the colony, there is a web of such traces. The tracks leading to the closest places where food may be found are the strongest because the greatest number of ants travel these paths purely due to the length of the route. Tracks leading to places where food sources are exhausted fade on their own because increasingly fewer ants use them to bring back food, while more and more ants decide to conduct their search in other directions, the scent left along track fades, as it is no longer reinforced. What begins as a seemingly cha- otic scene ends in a self-organizing process of building up and maintaining a optimal network of trails. What looked like the uncoordinated actions of ants moving in utter confusion turns out to be a very sophisticated way of working together. A few special things can be noted about this mechanism. To begin with, ants are able to perform coordinated tasks and to make complex structures (their food network) without communicating with each other. There is no direct communi- 92 from crowd to Community
  • 91. cation. Nor is there any central coordination. Nevertheless, there is an active mechanism that manages to bundle together the combined efforts of many of these non-communicating individuals into a useful group performance. This mechanism is called stigmergy and is based on a whole new way of working together. At least, it is new to us as knowledge workers. Nature has known about it for a long time. Stigmergy as defined in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The entry in Wikipedia reads as follows: Stigmergy is a mechanism of indirect coordination between agents or ac- tions. The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a next action, by the same or a different agent. In that way, subsequent actions tend to reinforce and build on each other, leading to the spontaneous emergence of coherent, apparently systematic activity. Stigmergy is a form of self-organization. It produces complex, seemingly intelligent structures, without need for any planning, control, or even direct communication between the agents. As such it supports efficient collabora- tion between extremely simple agents, who lack any memory, intelligence or even awareness of each other. Stigmergic behavior in insects Stigmergy was first observed in social insects. For example, ants exchange information by laying down pheromones (the trace) on their way back to the nest when they have found food. In that way, they collectively develop a complex network of trails, connecting the nest in the most efficient way to the different food sources. When ants come out of the nest searching for food, they are stimulated by the pheromone to follow the trail towards the food source. The network of trails functions as a shared external memory for the ant colony. In computer science, this general method has been applied in a variety of techniques called ant colony optimization, which search for solutions to complex problems by depositing “virtual pheromones” along paths that appear promising. The new way of working together 93
  • 92. Other eusocial creatures, such as termites , use pheromones to build their complex nests by following a simple decentralized rule set. Each insect scoops up a “mud ball” or similar material from its environment, invests the ball with pheromones, and deposits it on the ground, initially in a ran- dom spot. However, termites are attracted to their nest mates’ pheromones and are therefore more likely to drop their own mud balls on top of their neighbors’. The larger the heap of mud becomes, the more attractive it is, and therefore the more mud will be added to it (positive feedback). Over time this leads to the construction of pillars, arches, tunnels and chambers. History The term “stigmergy” was introduced by French biologist Pierre-Paul Grassé in 1959 to refer to termite behavior. He defined it as: “Stimulation of work- ers by the performance they have achieved.” It is derived from the Greek words stigma (mark, sign) and ergon (work, action), and captures the notion that an agent’s actions leave signs in the environment, signs that it and other agents sense and that determine and incite their subsequent actions[1]. Later on, a distinction was made between the stigmergic phenomenon, which is specific to the guidance of additional work, and the more general, non- work specific incitation, for which the term sematectonic communication was coined[2] by E.O. Wilson , from the Greek words sema (sign, token), and tecton (craftsman, builder): “There is a need for a more general, somewhat less clumsy expression to denote the evocation of any form of behavior or physiological change by the evidences of work performed by other animals, including the special case of the guidance of additional work.” Stigmergy is now one of the key[3] concepts in the field of swarm intel- ligence. Applications Stigmergy is not restricted to eusocial creatures, or even to physical systems. On the Internet there are many emergent phenomena that arise from users interacting only by modifying local parts of their shared virtual environ- ment. Wikipedia is an example of this. The massive structure of information available in a wiki,[4] or an open source software project such as the Freebsd kernel[4] could be compared to a termite nest; one initial user leaves a seed 94 from crowd to Community
  • 93. of an idea (a mudball) which attracts other users who then build upon and modify this initial concept, eventually constructing an elaborate structure of connected thoughts.[5][6] The term is also employed in experimental research in robotics, multi-agent systems and communication in computer networks. In these fields there exist two types of stigmergy: active and passive. The first kind occurs when a robotic or otherwise intelligent “agent” alters its environment so as to af- fect the sensory input of another agent. The second occurs when an agent’s action alters its environment such that the environmental changes made by a different agent are also modified. A typical example of active stigmergy is leaving behind artifacts for others to pick up or follow. An example of pas- sive stigmergy is when agent-A tries to remove all artifacts from a container, while agent-B tries to fill the container completely. In addition the concept of stigmergy has also been used to describe how cooperative work such as building design may be integrated. Designing a large contemporary building involves a large and diverse network of actors (e.g. architects, building engineers, static engineers, building services engi- neers and etc.). Their distributed activities may be partly integrated through practices of stigmergy.[7][8] See also • Swarm intelligence • Spontaneous order References 1. Bonabeau, E. “Editor’s Introduction: Stigmergy.” special Issue of Artificial Life on Stig- mergy. Volume 5, Issue 2 / Spring 1999, p.95-96. http://www.stigmergicsystems.com/ stig_v1/stigrefs/article1.html 2. Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, E.O. Wilson, 1975/2000, p.186 3. Parunak, H. v D. (2003). Making swarming happen. In Proc. of Conf. on Swarming and Network Enabled Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveil- lance and Reconnaissance (C4isr), McLean, Virginia, usa, January 2003. 4. abInfoworld: A conversation with Steve Burbeck about multicellular computing 5. Heylighen F. (2007). Why is Open Access Development so Successful? Stigmergic organiza- tion and the economics of information, in: B. Lutterbeck, M. Baerwolff & R. A. Gehring (eds.), Open Source Jahrbuch 2007, Lehmanns Media, 2007, p. 165-180. The new way of working together 95
  • 94. 6. Rodriguez M.A. (2008). A Collectively Generated Model of the World, in: Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace, eds. M. Tovey, pages 261-264, ein Press, isbn: 09715-6616X, Oakton, Virginia, November 2007 7. Christensen, L. R. (2007). Practices of stigmergy in architectural work. In Proceedings of the 2007 international acm Conference on Conference on Supporting Group Work (Sanibel Island, Florida, usa, November 04 - 07, 2007). group 2007. acm, New York, ny, 11-20. 8. Christensen, L. R. (2008). The Logic of Practices of Stigmergy: Representational Artifacts in Architectural Design. In Proceedings of the 2008 acm Conference on Computer Sup- ported Cooperative Work (San Diego, ca, usa, November 8-12, 2008). cscw ‘08. acm, New York, ny, 559-568. How brilliant is all this? Everywhere around us, the world is filled with entities that respond to certain stimuli predictably and, instinctively. Not just ants or pets, but machines as well. And things! And people! Depending on the chosen perspective and the most appropriate context, we label these people subject, consumer or employee. While able to act intelligently, they are, under certain conditions, not much different from the drones or boids that we previously de- scribed. All these drones have a certain degree of instinctive behavior that can be used to cause them to work together on complex tasks without having them come into contact with each other and without having them perform complex actions. All it requires is a stigmergic mechanism, predictable behavior, the right signals and an environment where it all takes place. Bees are social insects just like ants, and they have many ways of working to- gether, apparently without communication. This behavior is, of course, in addi- tion to the famous example of direct communication involving their thorax wagging “dance” to inform other bees about the routes to their food. If at some point the temperature in the hive becomes too high, one by one, the workers begin to use their wings as fans. They do this instinctively and not all at the same temperature due to genetic differences. Eventually this collective effort cools down the breeding compartments. When the temperature drops, the bees one at a time stop fanning the hive. The story is one of the many tales about nature that have become somewhat clichés. They are frequently used in the social context, but it is not always clear if they actually are correct, or if they are, in fact, more or less urban legends. This is certainly the case with this example, since the harder the bees fan, the more energy they use, which then is released in the form of heat, warming the hive that their fanning action is supposedly cooling down. 96 from crowd to Community
  • 95. In any event, the information instigating their “stigmergic” group performance comes from the environment. Ants and bees behave in this way in nature; con- sumers act similarly in trendy shops surrounded by incentives to purchase, com- bined with “traces” left by lifestyle and pr departments, while employees display similar behavior in the social environment that you provide! Stigmergy is every- where; it can be seen in the societies of social insects, it can be seen in the human body in the form of cells incited to work together by stimuli passed through the bloodstream, and it is also the main way of working together on the internet. The internet as a whole, at the level of routers and servers, but also many of the websites that can be found on it, are almost entirely creations resulting from a stigmergic process. Take for example Wikipedia. Almost everyone uses the web- site to look up something. Wikipedia is basically a stigmergic medium. Essen- tially, no direct conversation or communication with other visitors is required for the mechanism to work. Someone reads an article and sees that something is wrong or that something is missing, and can make the necessary revision. The environment is Wikipedia itself and the traces to be followed are the articles. The structure that results is an encyclopedia. digg.com, the social bookmark site of Google, makes the operation even clearer. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of Diggers browse the internet daily in search of fun, interesting and/or useful information. Like ants, this search activity happens in seemingly uncoor- dinated chaos. Each time, however, that one of those Internet ants encounters a useful link, they leave a marked trail in their environment, in this case at digg.com. The other ants can pick up these markings and even strengthen it by voting. Ultimately, a mechanism is created that separates useful information from noise. The digg.com community uses stigmergic processes to maintain what is, in their eyes, a qualitatively high-grade and up-to-date subset of the internet that is changing daily. From chaos, to blazing trails, following them and reinforcing them in a process of self-organization. The human body Although the word stigmergy might sound very scientific and the ant might be a nice example but still have a very “academic feeling,” the phenomenon is to be found in almost all facets of our world. Our world is through and through stigmergic. The new way of working together 97
  • 96. Our body is an enormously complex organism consisting of more than 150 bil- lion cells. Our brains cannot possible keep tabs on all these cells. Yet, if we ulti- mately want our left arm to extend forward, or else our right one, the movement ultimate has great probability to succeed. It is only when you realize how much of our body is comprised of self-sufficient units that you understand what an enormously complex communication is required for such movement. To a great- er or lesser extent, the present concerns of all the autonomous units have to be interrupted in order to coordinate their contribution to the whole. They have a double life: self-survival, and simultaneously collective survival. Some of this control is conscious but most of it is unconscious. Some of it occurs directly and instantaneously, by means of electrical impulses that are sent through the nervous system, but the vast majority is indirect. The vast majority of our body’s activity relies on stigmergic collaboration. All the cells in our body are separate entities with their own metabolism, self-perception and specific behavior. It would be impossible for the brains to control everything. Instead, this all involves mass- collaboration on a scale far greater than what the ants perform. Cells are equipped with receptors, which act as their senses and these receptors respond to signals in the form of molecules or in the form of electromagnetic stimuli. Once an appropriate signal attaches to a receptor, the cell does something. Thus, viruses can attach to a cell receptor and instigate replication of the viral dna. And similarly hormones, lipids, proteins and other chemicals induce the cell to other actions. The body (actually its cells, the individuals of the collective) distributes these chemicals throughout the cellular environment, and each cell subsequently knows what to do and obtains this knowledge independently of every other cell. Cells can communicate with each other without knowing about any other cell or group of cells from which the communication comes. They act on the basis of genetically programmed responses to signals, and it is this programming that ultimately creates a synergistic collaboration. Our body is a giant stigmergic communication platform on which all components emit or leave signals to coordinate the actions of others. Madmen and fools write their names on doors and windows Stigmergy is opportunism in its highest form. You should realize that the ant carrying food back to the nest and consequently leaving a scent does not 98 from crowd to Community
  • 97. know when or if any other ants will take notice and follow the trail. Nor does it leave the trail for specific other individuals. Perhaps it does not even know it is making the trail. Nevertheless, it marks the trail, which becomes the instigation for a sophisticated self-correcting process. If ants can resultantly organize themselves so well this way, would it not also be handy if knowledge workers were to leave traces leading to where they are ac- quiring knowledge for the company? Unsolicited, opportunism? Or is this just a waste of time? Consider an activity stream, which is often nothing more than a kind of micro blog on which we inform and broadcast to the world and/or our network, or unilaterally say what we are doing, where we are, what we believe and so forth. Manually posted information can easily be supplemented with events that can be added automatically. “Wim stored one file in the “Sustainability” work group under the title <Policy Plan>,” “Chris is a member of the <Sustainability>” group, etc. This more or less coincides with a continuous transmission of status informa- tion. Mostly, you do nothing explicit for followers or friends in providing this information, but often your “trace” gives rise to further actions. In any event, your followers at least know what you are doing, making it easier to communi- cate in a specific manner and to find points of contact when you unexpectedly undertake more immediate forms of communication or when you bump into the person in the real world (you know, an old fashion physical encounter). The simple fact that your trace is visible to everyone at least makes it possible for others to help you and to ensure that you keep in touch. Particularly in a corpo- rate environment, activity streaming is very useful because it provides “specific” information and involves meaningful “activities” more often than it does in the private sphere. Twitter and Facebook are in this respect more than just tools for the see-me crowd. Flickr serves a much clearer purpose, as it supports the pri- mary objective of managing the world’s largest photography exhibition. Each time you log in to manage your own photo gallery, Flickr gives you an overview of relevant events, the people who have looked at your photos, those who com- mented on them, etc. In a corporate environment, an activity stream provides guidance leading to other activities, and to new or different content and conver- sations. Just like ant behavior, activity streaming starts in chaos and is based on assumptions and opportunism. No one knows who, if anyone, will stumble on The new way of working together 99
  • 98. a trail, but eventually processes begin to organize themselves and add value, without requiring any supervision or control. Mass-action and brute force tactics Due to the absence of central control and the presence of self-organi- zation, a stigmergic environment (let us henceforth refer to it as “just” a “2.0 environ- ment”) is very well suited for what might be called brute force strategies. Information in such an environment is derived from a self-organizing, trial-and-error method. Instead of looking for information themselves, knowledge workers may post search requests in the environment, in response to which their colleagues happening to notice the request may assist in the search. They may do this on their own time, and using keywords in a way that they themselves choose. With a suitable aggregation or ranking mechanism, the most useful results come automatically to the surface, just like at digg.com. What began as an opportunistic marking of a trail has evolved from chaos to useful results through the cooperation of unselected passers-by. The result has been selected using the full collective intelligence of the crowd. As another concrete example, consider what is known as social bookmarking such as performed on del.icio.us, which differs from digg because a different mechanism is used to optimize group performance. Millions of internet users make use of the service to save their bookmarks online. At one point, some bookmarks become more significant than others because they are kept by more people. There is now a selection of bookmarks that are chosen by users of del. icio.us as being more valuable then others. Without all these people consulting each other, they discover the most interesting places on the internet and implic- itly give them a “rating.”. Their result is actually a subset of the internet that others have found to merit highlighting. This is another example of how brute force tactics can yield very useful results when used in the right environment (something that is virtually impossible under central control). Bookmarking on del.icio.us is a continuous process and very useful to the social platform of a large company, but it is quite conceivable that a similar mechanism can be used in a more ad hoc manner to supply solutions and answers to problems that arise spontaneously, again using the social platform of the company. In this case, the community is asked to find and recommend links with possible solutions to a problem. The wisdom of the crowd and the principle of brute force generated by the swarming of the community may turn up useful links. 100 from crowd to Community
  • 99. Bundling of forces An important feature of a good “2.0” environment is a mechanism to “aggregate” or cluster individual contributions into a group result. Such a mechanism is called (how predictable) an aggregation mechanism and is based on such prac- tices as collaborative filtering. We will discuss the details involved in Part 2, but it is important to realize that just leaving traces is not enough. The ants have an ag- gregation mechanism in the continuous reinforcement of the tracks and the auto- matic evaporation of such traces over time. On social bookmark sites like digg.com, there is a similar mechanism. Found information that receives many votes from the digg community appears on the front page and will start climbing above other items. After a while, however, the item is “exhausted” (read: evaporates) and disap- pears from the front page. The front page displays the currently most valuable col- lection of information in the view of the community. Programmers refer to this evaporation and decrease in value as a “half-life” or “radioactivity”; it is a useful and easy to program aggregation mechanism. Broadcast versus direct communication Essential in describing the difference between (functional) 1.0 teams and the (social) 2.0 communities is the kind of communication that is dominant. Teams primarily partake in direct communications from person to person. It does, by the way, not always have to be people who are collaborating; it could also be machines, androids, cyborg or simply “functions.” Direct communication has a known endpoint; it is clear who or what will even- tually respond. Email is typically direct communication. just like a phone call as well. People who do not understand that this form of communication is dominant soon become known in the organization as spammers. Much of this type of “spam” is also an important indication that a good social platform is lacking. Direct communication is the most dominant type of communication in the func- tional side of the organization. In contrast to the functional side of the organization, the social side is mainly dominated by broadcast communications (broadcasts or broadcasting). In this type of communications, it is unknown who the recipients will be or even if a receiver exists. The communicative act is discontinuous from the participants in the con- versation. A bulletin board or weblog is a form of broadcast communications. The new way of working together 101
  • 100. The difference between direct and broadcast communications involves the degree of decoupling and security. In direction communications, the parties are more strongly linked and secure. There is always only a certain amount of direct com- munications that are possible before the communicative act is so complex that problems begin to arise. This means, among other things, that teams can only ever be of limited size. A good example is the difference in document preparation by a team communi- cating by email and the manner in which a document is prepared by a commu- nity using a wiki. A wiki is a stigmergic means of creating a document by engaging the joint efforts of multiple people Synchronous versus asynchronous Communication can be synchronous or asynchronous. During synchro- nous communication, the sender waits for the receiver to respond. This makes them sequentially interdependent, and makes the course of the procedure predictable. In the case of asynchronous communication, the sender does not wait for the receiver to respond but the receiver merely interrupts the sender when responding. The send- er can do something else in the meantime. This makes the sender and receiver less dependent on each other but simultaneously requires a different approach. Synchronous and direct often occur in combination, as do asynchronous and broadcast. Synchronous and direct communications will be dominant on the functional side of the organization, Stigmergy, the social form of collaboration, is mainly based on asynchronous, broadcast communications. 102 from crowd to Community
  • 101. Self-scaling and anonymous Stigmergic collaboration can occur among large groups of “workers” without any central control and without direct communications to coordinate com- plex tasks. The parties involved are decoupled from each other by means of an environment or platform. Because there are no direct communications, it is not necessary to know the parties who will be working together beforehand or even at all. In principle it is possible to execute the most complex tasks without ever know- ing who is participating and without ever coordinating schedules. The “workforce” can be continuously changing its composition and size. It is a self-scaling mecha- nism. And what’s more, it is self-organizing. Tasks are automatically performed at a greater speed when greater capacity becomes available, without requiring a pro- cedure to revise or adjust communications. This makes the principle terrifyingly universal, and it is no wonder that it is also the preferred method of “mass collabo- ration” in nature. Performing complex tasks without a leader Forming and coordinating large teams is not something everyone can do. Not everyone has the makings of a project manager. Truly good managers and project managers are people with whom organizations need to be frugal. They pos- sess special communication skills, need to be aware of the political context, must be capable of keeping an eye on everything and have to be able to handle complex- ity. Stigmergic collaboration means that such people are no longer needed. In a good stigmergic environment, anyone can undertake the most complex tasks and perform them without direct communication and without central control. The only thing that is truly necessary is the right stimuli (incentives) in the right places. The crowd will automatically discover these markers and collaborate on the task. The work will be automatically distributed. Working in this manner, the crowd can even perform many tasks simultaneously, so that their commitment is self-scaling. In the Intelligent Organization, some tasks no longer requires project management or leadership in order to deploy talent required for these projects or tasks. Instead, any individual with access to the environment can initiate projects of great complexity and large scale without having to understand anything about coordinating and managing large groups of people. Social media is therefore “empowering.” “Yes, everyone can!” The new way of working together 103
  • 102. Notes 104 from crowd to Community
  • 103. 7 Various types of social collaboration platforms Previous chapters have discussed the new way of working together, which they identified as the basis of an organization’s “social” side, the essence of working as a community 2.0. This book is ultimately designed to make you excited about the Intelligent Organization and inspire you to provide your organization with a “living” social side. The adjective “social” in the Web 2.0 context is, of course, associated with “social networking” (activities also encapsulated simply as “2.0”), which represents a step beyond existing ways of working, now retroactively referred to as “1.0.” Smart businesses can use these new insights to ensure that their im- plicit and explicit social sides make and are able to make contributions to results. New social mechanisms can be introduced later in their social development. We call such companies “Intelligent Organizations.” Mechanical versus organic The best way to distinguish social “communities” from “conventional” functional “teams” is to make a distinction between a functional machine and a social organism. A machine consists of a predefined set of rods, bolts, nuts, shafts, gears and everything that operates in the manner of clockwork. Everything is pre- dictable and in sync. Machines are built to specification and may be repaired if they do not meet the specifications. The functional side of the organization operates as if it were a machine. Various types of social collaboration platforms 105
  • 104. Mechanical versus organic An organism has nothing of the sort; it is not built but grows, evolves, and adapts. An organism cannot perform machine-like, repeatable performances; there re- mains a degree of uncertainty in its performance. Try to bowl three times using exactly the same delivery. Try to discern the same pattern in the flight of starlings even twice. An organism is, on the other hand, both very adaptive and self-or- ganizing: the ultimate in flexibility and survivability. It can do things that a machine cannot and vice versa. The social side of a company is comparable to an organism. It sounds like something very new and very hip: something for the future. But without realizing it, organizations already have (or to put it more accurately, are), to some extent, “ecosystems” within which a crowd of employ- ees can obtain results and within which organic structures form by themselves. In a large company, two types of work have always been available. The me- chanical is recognizable as the form of the company appearing on the “organiza- tion chart” and codified in procedures resembling algorithms with which proc- esses must comply. It ensures that a large organization has a predictable outcome, while typically making it inflexible. For this reason, large organizations always generate informal / social structures as well. Communication is not always through the lines displayed on the organization chart and not everything that happens is recorded in process descriptions or foreseen in preconceived plans. Implicitly, most companies are already heterarchies. This book and TeamPark are designed in part to make these structures and their benefits explicit, while making an organization a more organic and a little less mechanical. Everything at work will then become more efficient and still be enjoyable. 106 from crowd to Community
  • 105. What is social collaboration? “2.0” is a new way of working together that breaks down the rigidity of the bureaucracy by combining planning, predictability and controllability with the flexibility, creativity and adaptability of social networking, com- munities and crowds. “Social” collaboration needs a special platform that allows for discon- tinuous communication and free participation modelled on the way nature organizes communal activity (stigmergy). Types of social activity useful to the organization Just as there are degrees and types of bureaucracy (functional order), there are degrees and types of social activity. Some social forms have strongly func- tional characteristics; in organizations possessing such forms, the two sides of the heterarchy are most naturally integrated. Other social forms are so organic that they are very far removed from the traditional way of communicating and collaborating, and have to incorporate a whole different approach in the organization. These social forms are not directly implicitly created by-products of conventional bureaucracies. A great deal of innovation and crowdsourcing will be found and included in these new social forms. TeamPark distinguishes three broad types of social entities, some already implic- itly and directly usable as social networking, others more difficult to use and only usable when sufficient “tender love and care” helps to get the ball rolling, such as crowdsourcing. Ranging from less to greater social interactivity, we can dis- tinguish (1) implicit social activity (2) productive social activity and (3) creative social activity. Various types of social collaboration platforms 107
  • 106. Different degrees of social collaboration Social networks: implicit social activity One of the easiest to use social tools is the social network. A social network is a structure that is visible by the record kept of the contacts or connec- tions among people. Social networks are not built like a chart, they arise naturally as a byproduct of interaction, communications and collaboration. Connections ex- ist among people; charting them creates a network diagram that shows the social network to which people belong. Whatever the degree of bureaucracy and formal organization in a company, there will always be a social structure. This structure can be used for communication and collaboration within the processes of the bureaucracy and to improve un- derstanding of the organization. Communication over the social network may be more effective than that occurring through the hierarchy of the organization chart and may also relieve the burden on these normal lines. Anyone looking for a quick answer to a question from a colleague known to be an expert on the subject will obviously make use of a social network to get in touch with this person. An email will be sent or a simple phone call made. The question will not of course be sent along formal channels, as that would be a far less desirable way to access the information. If no explicit social network exists, the questioner is limited to asking the people who he knows personally, while an explicit social network makes it possible to contact people who are not personal acquaint- ances. Tags or ratings can be used in a social network to find the right people quickly. 108 from crowd to Community
  • 107. An explicit social network can help organizations quickly find the relevant peo- ple and information; it improves collaboration. 6-degrees of Kevin Bacon The analysis of social networks is based on graph theory in mathematics. Analyz- ing social networks is called sna: social network analysis. Analysis reveals many useful statistics and features. A very familiar proposition, based on sna, concerns the six degrees of separation. Between you and any other random person on earth are only five other people who know each other.61 Six degrees of separation: in the social network that connects all people on earth, there are only 5 people between you and any other person Figure (cc) Laurens van Lieshout, cited in Wikipedia A newsgroup message appeared on April 7, 1994 stating that the actor Kevin Bacon was the center of the universe. The notice referred to an entertaining game developed around Kevin Bacon of which the aim was to connect any other per- son to Kevin by the smallest number of associations. The game, which was such 61 http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation Various types of social collaboration platforms 109
  • 108. a huge fad that it is now simply referred to as the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” inspired a number of scientists to investigate the phenomenon.62 The investigations led to new insights about social (self-forming) networks. It appears that these networks do not comply with the standard Gaussian or nor- mal distribution. When connections can be made arbitrarily, such as in the cases of the contacts between people, the design of traffic networks and the links to websites, expectations would be that the degree of connectedness of most nodes would be average. It should therefore be possible to plot connections per node as a standard bell curve. Most nodes would have average connectedness, and progressively fewer would have would have either a higher or lower degree of association. The same situation holds true for the distribution of iq scores in a population where most people have an average iq.63 The Gaussian or normal distribution of iq This type of distribution turns out not to apply to networks. Scientists discovered that a strong tendency to develop super hubs exists in various kinds of networks, ranging from the internet, to neural networks and air transport networks. These are certain nodes that have very many connections to other nodes. The distribu- tion of the connectedness of each node in the network is that of an inverse ex- ponential function: there are a few nodes with a high degree of connectedness 62 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees_of_Kevin_Bacon 63 http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normale_verdeling 110 from crowd to Community
  • 109. and more with increasingly less connectedness. What was originally a joke on an internet newsgroup eventually leads to a major scientific “discovery.”64,65,66 Nodes in a social network are distributed according to what is known as a power-law function, a characteristic of complex or “organic-like” systems A little earlier, we were very tough on chaos theory and complex systems. It can now be revealed that this power-law distribution is the typical manifestation of chaotic and/or complex systems. Complex is here meant in a mathematical sense. To cut to the chase, this means that complex systems are “organism-like,” self- organizing and non-deterministic, or difficult to predict.67 Useful facts and statistics about the company can be discovered by analyzing the social networks in a business, and this information can be used for normal op- erations by making these networks constantly discernible using appropriate so- cial software. Social networks are created by people contacting each other by email, phone and face-to-face meetings, and by people meeting each other and participating together in activities. But they also arise because people use a social platform to make posts on each other’s blogs, providing link dumps, participat- ing in forum topics, rating each other’s content (giving it a grade), faving (adding to favorites), and doing almost everything else possible on the platform. A good social platform would incorporate all these activities in order to build up a social network. This network will enable people to have far more connections than others and, although it is dangerous to immediately draw such conclusions, it 64 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/8029774.stm 65 http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kdtvv 66 http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00kdtvv/Six_Degrees_of_Separation/ 67 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_system Various types of social collaboration platforms 111
  • 110. may be assumed that people who are super hubs in the social network are crucial for business. They are on average asked more questions than other people, and are used more frequently to find, knowledge, expertise and ways to get jobs done. It is again worth mentioning that these findings merit further consideration. For instance, it might mean that people should be given more time in their duties for the organic side of their work, provided that such contacts occur outside their function and place in the chart. The social network might also be correlated with the organization structure and may cause processes to be adjusted and possible reorganization of the chart. Productive social activity: an alternative to teamwork A second type of social entities are communities. Communities are groups of people who choose to work on certain tasks, to discuss particular subjects or to share specific interests. While communities may choose their own composition and determine their own subjects, there is coherence, a great deal of mutual com- munication and relative similarity. This is necessary for their members to work together effectively. Communities are the social counterpart of functional teams. For instance, both perform tasks that the organization needs, but they involve different forms of collaboration. A team is a small machine, while a community is more like an organism. Unlike teams, communities have no fixed composition; they usually do not communicate directly or synchronously, and have no central planning or control. These feature are replaced by signals and a platform on which to leave these signals. There are few established procedures in a community. Below, we will discuss the platform and tools required to ensure that good results are achieved. Teams and communities can work well together, provided the right technical infrastructure is available. Unlike social networks and, in effect as we shall see, unlike crowds, communities do not arise on their own as a by-product of the normal course of business. Communities must be explicitly established and require special facilities, such as a platform or rather an ecosystem. In intelligent organizations, social communi- ties are given platforms that are specifically designed as counterparts to the cor- responding processes replacing on the functional side, enabling communities to 112 from crowd to Community
  • 111. obtain the same results while implementing, a stigmergic form of collabora- tion. Communities give organizations the opportunity of having their people work together irrespective of their location and time and regardless of the community’s continuously changing composition. Such flexibility and adaptability is virtually impossible for teams. Some tasks require teams and bureaucratic methods, oth- er tasks are best performed using communities and social methods. The choice is driven by the nature of the process as well as the environment in which the process is incorporated. The same tasks can often be performed in either bureaucratic (teams) or stigmergic (communi- ties) fashion Crowds: creative social activity The most organic social form is the crowd. The difference between a community and a crowd boils down to the fact that the members of a crowd do not have any fixed or clear relationships to each other. The composition is ad hoc and the members act, in principle, independently of each other and, in any case, without much consultation. Whereas a particular affinity must exist among the members of a community, such lack of diversity is quite undesirable insofar as crowds are concerned and must be resisted. The reason why any possible homogeneity should be counteracted is that it undermines the “wisdom of the crowd,” which requires Various types of social collaboration platforms 113
  • 112. crowds to by independent, diverse and uncontrolled. A crowd along with the ap- propriate software (providing an aggregation mechanism) is used to solve difficult problems, to channel innovation and to find information not widely available by employing brute force tactics and crowdsourcing. It is in this part of the social spectrum that the “wisdom of the crowd” can be found and where the normally unused talents of individuals and collectives can be used to benefit organizations. Somehow, a large crowd always can come up with a special solution or a perfect idea that individuals overlook. In principle all internet users, not just your own employees, may join your crowd. This rep- resents a huge potential that can be used to crowd-source problems or work. More and more companies are discovering this huge resource of talent, and not just from a marketing perspective. Many of them dare to risk making crowd- sourcing of for such tasks as product development a part of their strategy. The automotive industry makes a very strong effort in this regard, with the likes of fiat, bmw and Peugeot launching extensive initiatives incorporating a large anonymous crowd into their design teams. Using nice, well designed platforms everybody can help them develop the car of the future. Every company can do this by starting with their own internal crowd and upscal- ing to more global reach with a great deal of ease. What does such a crowd then do all day long? Does the queen ant know what all the worker ants are doing all day long? Is there one sardine in the school that knows what the others are up to? Do your brain cells have any information about the activities that your other cells are carrying out? Are your brain cells even aware of what you are currently consciously expe- riencing? The answer to each one of these questions is no. Nevertheless, everything still works, producing what may by individually divergent results. It is not important to know what any one individual in the crowd is doing. What counts is what the crowd does as a whole: the things that cannot be asked of individuals. If securing a group’s optimal performance requires that a few indi- viduals seemingly do nothing but hang around all day long, then they should perhaps be allowed to hang around. Do not underestimate the social control of the crowd in this respect. It might take a while, but eventually the parasites will be automatically remedied; you need not deal with them yourself. 114 from crowd to Community
  • 113. Participants in a crowd or social network cannot be evaluated in the same way as participants in a bureaucracy. A crowd is not based on job profiles, and mem- bers of a crowd are not susceptible to performance reviews. No indeed! Perform- ances are to be expected from the whole, and evaluations should also occur at that level. Eventually, people and groups who come up with ideas and solve problems will emerge. Innovation is fuelled and accelerated. People and groups will pull others along in their wake. To help these others along, they can write stories, update wikis, post activity streams, participate in forum discussions, tell jokes, play tricks, make each other angry, sometimes even be censured. In brief, do everything that is done in any social setting, Switching the crowd on and off A company that recognizes the crowd operating within its own walls and uses Web 2.0 applications in order to form communities that channel and make use of all the talent existing in the organization is what we are calling the “Intelligent Organization.” Starting an Intelligent Organization involves much more than flicking a light switch. You can only provide an organization’s social environment with the right facilities and environmental factors in the hope that the correct processes will emerge on their own. Think of it as the difference between a rule- based knowledge system and an ai system (a neural network / artificial intelli- gence). Once switched on, the former delivers useful results from day one, all the necessary knowledge is contained in the system. The latter must undergo a learn- ing process and will only produce results after a certain training period. Such a network can think up its own “knowledge.” The first gives only the results that are identified in advance or for which inference rules have been devised. The latter will frequently yield surprises. Obviously, there is more to do than just wait and hope; that is specifically why we have developed TeamPark. We will provide a great deal of detail about this point below, but it is important to realize that social practices are very different from bureaucratic activity. The latter has precisely the benefit of being predict- able and therefore subject to planning, in contract to social actions, which are much more difficult to predict and plan. Various types of social collaboration platforms 115
  • 114. Notes 116 from crowd to Community
  • 115. 8 “2.0” It is obvious that Web 2.0 and its underlying concepts regarding col- laboration add up to more than just a hodgepodge of fads and memes. Despite the apparent diversity of sites and effects, there is a clear thread that can be seen, inso- far as stigmergy is, in all cases, an underlying principles. It is therefore no exag- geration to speak of a new paradigm, a new “conceptual framework,” another par- adigm for communications and the basis for a new kind of business. Let us henceforth call this paradigm “2.0,” with Web 2.0 as one of its implementations. Let the old way of communicating and collaborating be immediately identified as “1.0” “2.0” has distinctive features. It is facilitative and enabling, as it primarily allows visitors or workers to get in touch with each other in order to produce results without anyone managing the collaboration. Instead, visitors build relations among themselves and form groups. There is no fixed procedure. It is decentralized / bottom-up, because all the on-site activity is initiated by the “crowd” or the “community.” Any hierarchy that emerges, arises from the bot- tom up. It is organic because the content on social websites are not structured in advance and is not centrally controlled using predefined procedures. The community must grow things organically, bottom-up. No top-down “taxonomy” (set of categories) but a “folksonomy” (e.g. tags and their tag clouds) formed bottom up. Com- “2.0” 117
  • 116. munities can be guided by adjusting the framework within which they evolve. The result is a number of features constituting an “ecosystem” that can success- fully facilitate a crowd and result in the successful generation of user content. What we have to make available is a framework in which the above features are dominant or, at least, emergent. The most important characteristic of all is perhaps the fact that collaboration is based on stigmergy and stigmergic tooling while reducing direct communication and synchronicity. The “2.0” or “social” part of your organization is stigmergic, facilitative, decen- tralized / bottom-up and organic. Since we now have features that we can describe as “2.0,” it is also useful to characterize the “1.0” side using the same vocabulary. Although even the most conventional “1.0” organization is never a pure bureaucracy and a company always involves several hybrid forms, there are enough differences between “1.0” and “2.0” to be able to make a general distinction. A bureaucracy involves central control, in contrast to the decentralization of a crowd. Control is top-down, while the self-control of a crowd occurs bottom-up in the form of self-coordination; it is organic, not synthetic. “1.0” therefore appears to be the opposite pole of “2.0” due to the fact that it is synchronized, controlled,centralized/top-down and synthetic. As an informal sum- mary, the differences and distinguishing features would likely be the following:68 Paradigm Features68 “1.0” “2.0” Bureaucracy Holocracy Mechanical model Organic model Synchronous Asynchronous Direct communications Stigmergic communications Regulation Moderation Standardized Ad-hoc 68 http://www.slideshare.net/group/TeamPark 118 from crowd to Community
  • 117. Reductive Emergent Controlling Facilitating Centralized Decentralized Top-down Bottom-up Enterprise “1.0” and “2.0” as Yin and Yang “1.0” and “2.0” are certainly not mutually exclusive in an organization; on the contrary, they are synergistic and mutually reinforcing. Counterbalancing! They are like Yin and Yang, like the south and the north side of a mountain, the left hemisphere and right hemisphere of same brain. An organization possesses both forms, ideally in a ratio that will work best, a ratio that varies for each com- pany. Google is known for having a fairly dominant organic side. Many of the current Google products and services have been created bottom-up by employees devoting a great deal of time and many facilities outside their “regular” working hours to try things out in a more organic and ad hoc form of collaboration. In or- ganizations with very dominant physical production (e.g. factories), extensive social activity would have much less added value then it would for a ‘knowledge process- ing facility’ like an insurance company or a bank. Each company will need to iden- tify the right mix for their particular circumstances. In this book, we hope to excite you about a different type of control, and your current organization will very likely have to change to accommodate it. The risk of overdoing it is enormous. Who has not heard of the vicious outsourcing/in- sourcing cycle? For some reason, nobody manages to get the balance right. Is it not the case that everything must be outsourced because the corporate structure is not fast enough to respond to demand variation and “it is not a core compe- tency”? And almost immediately after complete outsourcing, does it not all have to be insourced again or else all knowledge is lost? Does anybody ever come up with the idea of halving all outsourcing or insourcing plans before beginning with either? The same holds true for your transformation into an intelligent organization. Consider therefore how “social” you wish to make your organization and start cautiously by realizing half of your plans. It is a question of balance: yin and yang. “2.0” 119
  • 118. Communities alongside Teams With “2.0,” your company is able to instigate what is known as crowd or community collaboration, jointly lumped together in the container concept of “social collaboration.” This form of working together supplements the already exist- ing team collaboration. Even if you are not immediately aware of it or if you use another term to label it, the dominant way of working in a bureaucratic organization is set up as team collaboration. Both forms of collaboration may certainly coexist. In fact, both forms can use “each other’s” resources. A very smart team can use a wiki, and a community can often benefit greatly from an online meeting. The functional processes can generally best be left to teams, the social processes for which scalable, self-organizing and discontinuous mass-collaboration is needed, should probably be left to communities. Both forms of collaboration can deliver the same results but, depending on conditions, one form may be more efficient than others. Initiating team collaboration involves patching together the right team, and then designing and testing the appropriate procedures, workflows and channels of interaction. To establish community collaboration is to assemble and make avail- able the appropriate environment. Because of its generic nature, community collaboration will regularly use the same generic platform. In previous chapters, it has been noted that a certain number of communication media are being de- veloped on the web, each of which is being re-used in a comparable form: the blog, forum, wiki, social bookmarking and more. The differences between a team and a community can be encapsulated in a simple table: Types of collaboration Team collaboration Community collaboration Mechanical Organic Central control model Decentralized model Standardized Self-organizing Management Autonomy Direct communications Platform communications Synchronous Asynchronous Procedures and workflows Stigmergy Specialized functions Self-regulating application of knowledge Fixed allocation of workers Extremely varying allocation of workers Fixed team size Extremely varying community size 120 from crowd to Community
  • 119. Mintzberg and co. Of course, there has already been a great deal written about organiza- tional structures. Celebrated organizational expert Henry Mintzberg has discussed the coordination mechanisms and organizational units with which organizations are constructed, ways in which work is allocated, coordinated and executed and the manner in which the company is structured. Mintzberg uses the term bureaucracy for an organizational form in which mechanisms, processes and functions are stand- ardized and formalized. Bureaucratically structured companies have a predictable performance and can be directly managed and changed. No matter how large or complex the organization is, Mintzberg claims that it continues to need a coordina- tion mechanism that he identifies as “mutual adjustment.” This term stands for a more organic, self-regulating manner of working, and it is similar to what we are proposing as the social side of an organization. An example of a large bureaucratic organization that Mintzberg cites in his book Structure in Fives is nasa. During a space flight guided by hundreds of specialists, the large number of unforeseen events make it necessary to switch over to a more ad hoc manner of working, and the standardization and formalization characteristic of a bureaucracy must be relin- quished. The example, though correct, is an unfortunate choice because it does not sufficiently demonstrate that large bureaucratic organizations need an organic side not only during special “events” but on an ongoing basis. Their crowd simply enters the building every workday and, with or without explicit facilities, the social side is an obvious fact, apparently because there is a certain need. Additionally, the exam- ple ignores the fact that outside the unexpected situations cited by Mintzberg as an argument, the crowd always possesses special talents. It always has the emergent behavior that cannot be found in individuals.69,70 In a certain sense, Mintzberg describes a template for various types of companies and notes that several forms co-exist, particularly in large organizations. He also identifies this as a “heterarchy.” What we propose and what this book is about is that every company already possesses the properties and a platform for such a “template,” a fixed element in every practical heterarchy. Mintzberg uses the term organic loosely. Some people call the organic part a holocracy, by analogy to a bureaucracy and in reference to a holistic view of organizations. Others use the term sociocracy. We will satisfy ourselves by referring to the social/organic 69 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mintzberg 70 http://books.google.com/books?id=nR5haaaamaaj&q=structures+in+fives “2.0” 121
  • 120. side of an organization. Each company is a heterarchy with an incorporated organic side.71,72,73 The autonomy of Fairtlough Another organization expert, Gerard Fairtlough, former ceo of Shell Chemicals uk, includes a reference to the triarchy theory in his book. This theory suggests that there are three ideal ways of doing things: hierarchy, heterarchy and respon- sible autonomy. In this way, management gives workers some space and encour- ages them to take responsibility for what they do. According to Fairtlough, the three ways are always present side by side. He even gives an indication of the most prevalent mix in different types of companies:74 Style Example Hierarchy Heterarchy Autonomy Bureaucracy Government 60% 10% 30% Mechanical Factory 75% 25% Zero Organic R&D 30% 50% 20% Simple Small business 60% 40% Zero Thomas Malone and democracy in your company Finally, Thomas Malone, a professor at mit, extensively discusses the benefits of decentralization in his visionary book The Future of Work, claiming that this decentralization is mainly made possible by progress in (internet) technology. For the first time in history, Malone sees the possible benefits of combining “big- ness” with the potential of “smallness.” He also views a new kind of business on the rise, and the keywords that he applies to it are: self-organizing, self-managed, empowered, emergent, democratic, participative, people-centered, swarming and peer-to-peer. Not much different than how we describe “2.0.” He even intro- duces an interesting “new” decentralized (organic) form or organization: democ- racy. As implied by the word, the employees may vote on important decisions. This is a form that has been successfully used on many social sites to ensure quality, for example, and a form that may be quite appropriate to the talents of 71 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heterarchy 72 http://www.holacracy.org/downloads/HolacracyIntro2007-06.pdf 73 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sociocracy 74 http://books.google.nl/books?id=nan1jfmhggcC 122 from crowd to Community
  • 121. large crowds. For example, think of the social voting system on the digg.comsocial news site.75 He also shows that there are gradations again, to which he refers as the decen- tralization continuum: ← <— Centralized Decentralized —>← Type of decision Centralized Informal Democracy Market system hierarchy hierarchy Example Traditional Consulting Political Free market, military firms, research democracy, internet, organization companies, shareholders” internal open source meeting markets in development businesses Of course, different organizational experts have different views, but they all come to the conclusion that an organic component is more or less present and active in almost every organization. Yin and Yang. Self-organization “2.0” is special because it is self-organizing. If properly implemented and supported with appropriate resources, it is a paradigm that can be used for processes that cannot be effectively performed in a bureaucracy in order to bring about their effective performance (or at least more effective performance). By def- inition, this can only happen if control is kept to a minimum and processes are allowed to organize and stabilize themselves. If this proves impossible, the solution is just wrong. Implementing control in social collaboration is to reconvert it into functional collaboration. Like in the case of ants, the activity must begin in relative chaos. In a company, chaos is scary, but the urge to intervene must nevertheless be suppressed. Self- organization only comes after chaos, or perhaps as a result of chaos. 75 http://books.google.nl/books?id=wzl9Luuzgyuc “2.0” 123
  • 122. Interaction A certain kind of interaction occurs between the functional and social sides of a heterarchy. We have briefly noted that the functional organization has already discovered social processes and that it ultimately has to be given a place on the social platform. We shall provide more detail on this topic in a subsequent chapter. Conversely, it is of course conceivable that processes beginning as social and stigmergic activities can ultimately be better formalized by mechanizing them, synchronizing collaboration and making communications more direct. Such a proc- ess then becomes predictable. 124 from crowd to Community
  • 123. Notes “2.0” 125
  • 124. 126 from crowd to Community
  • 125. 9 2.0 in business In previous chapters, we talked loosely about the economic, social and technological influences that necessarily influence your company, as well as about the new ways of working that makes Web 2.0 into a justified fad that is still the rage. We discussed crowds, communities and what their strengths and idiosyncra- sies are. We even provided a new paradigm for cooperation, “2.0” (the organic model), and situated it in relation to the existing paradigm, which we retrospec- tively labeled “1.0” (the mechanical model). In each case, the carefully disguised but particularly compelling subliminal mes- sage was that your company needs to change in order to continue to be success- ful in a changing world. The mechanical model is exhausted, the organic model is now building up steam. We firmly believe that introducing this model in or- ganizations worldwide will represent a turning point in industrial development. Businesses should be provided with platforms on which employees can work together in a manner similar to the ways in which ants work together. By leaving traces in their habitat, which is their platform, ants can accomplish the most amazing task without leaders and without direct coordination. What a platform for your organization should look like and how your organization can change into a new kind of organization will be the subject of the second part of this book. In anticipation of this discussion, we can now say that the basis of this new organization will likely be a comprehensive collaboration platform com- prised of social software, although the platform may also certainly have physical forms. For instance, reconsider the habitat of the ants, but also think of our 2.0 in business 127
  • 126. daily commuter traffic. That too is a social collaboration platform. As participants in vehicle traffic, a mass-collaboration can start by following and adapting the signals in the traffic environment. Similarly, knowledge workers can engage in mass-collaboration by following and adjusting the signals on the collaboration platform. We will explain all of this in the second part of this book. Old companies in a new world But there is still another issue to deal with. If we say that your com- pany has to change because the world around us has changed, how are we able to recognize what is going on? What are the symptoms of the resulting mismatch? There are fundamental things that are going wrong: • Free and unlimitedly scalable collaboration is impossible Collaborating with customers is difficult, as they refuse to comply with your internal procedures. Teams have difficulty working together with other teams, the rhythms are almost never synchronized; coordination is difficult. Teams can only have a limited size, and the same goes for departments. Large jobs are disproportionately harder to control than small ones. The help desk teams have difficulty connecting to the customer, or difficulty collaborating with the underlying organization. The field organization struggles to share its knowl- edge with the rest of the organization. Companies have crm strategies com- plemented by a flexible multi-channel approach, but have difficulty profiting from them. Once collaboration passes beyond the team border, things become difficult. • The impossibility of change It seems and proves to be the case that the larger a company gets, the slower moving it becomes and the harder it is to adjust the whole. It is easy to see the analogy to a super tanker that has to maneuver but only starts to responding miles after the rudder has been turned. The flexibility of a school of fish or flock of starlings, which sometimes comprise hundreds of thousands of indi- viduals without losing any dexterity, does not exist in large companies. Such a school absorbs additional individuals very easy, while a company is very difficult to scale up. • Working any place and at any time is proving difficult Despite all the technology being already available, it turns out that the new 128 from crowd to Community
  • 127. way of working has not really gotten off the ground. “Any place” is exceed- ingly manageable, a fast mobile internet connection and a laptop with a web- cam is all that is needed. “Any time” has proven more difficult to handle be- cause a fast internet connection and a laptop is worthless if you have to wait for the work of a colleague who currently finds the gym to be a lot more in- teresting than his work. As long as established procedures and fixed allocation of work means that an employee A is sequentially dependent on employee B, the new way of working will not work. • The end of conventional business process improvement (bpi)76 Despite all the optimization efforts, despite the enormous amount of business intelligence and benchmarks with which we make black-magic calculations in order to produce new kpis, despite the constant updating of business rules, it has proven impossible to arrange all the processes in an organization st that everything operates at peak performance. Improving process A will often distort process B and vice versa. The analogy with the large, confusedly monolithic super application on which most programmers have all worked at one time or another is easy to see. The resolution of a bug in module A leads to failure of module B. If both the bugs in module A and B are addressed something goes wrong in module C, and in this way programmers keep having to track down bugs. It is not much different insofar as the improvement processes of large organizations are concerned. These processes appear to have run their course. • There is a great deal of hidden talent Large companies are frighteningly incapable of accessing all the talent that exists in their organizations. People are capable of doing much more than what their job profile asks of them. Solutions to problems about which production teams have to think about sometimes for weeks may simply involve ready knowledge possessed by someone in the billing department, for example. A revolutionary idea does not necessarily have to be pulled out of innovation department’s hat, but might be devised by someone outside the team. The most recent task might have been on time if the right people had climbed on board. Additionally, employees often feel that their work is boring and would like to do something else in the organization. The organization does not, however, have any latitude for such interchange as an intellectual box literally dominates thinking, the one constructed from job descriptions and standardized proc- esses. 76 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_process_improvement 2.0 in business 129
  • 128. Knowledge processing factories and intensive personnel husbandry How can this be? What is wrong with corporations? How can a struc- ture that once was so successful now be full of enormous errors? To understand such issues, we will return to the 19th century to see the age and context in which the corporate structure was created. The structure was created at a time when work was done very differently than now. For many centuries, industry existed in small forms and was focused on local markets. Products were made by craftsmen operat- ing in small workshops—often at home—and were sold to customers in the neigh- borhood. Apprentices learned it from their masters who they were serving and assisting. Craftsmanship was regarded as mastery. These craftsmen were organized into guilds. Efficiency was not a topic of conversation, and quality was guaranteed by the reputation of the master, regulation and inspection. The industrial revolution gave birth to “the factory” around 1900, which was managed according to guesswork and the owner’s sense of how things should run. Frederick Taylor rightly saw that this way of working could be improved. Taylor introduced what he called “scien- tific management.” In 1911, he published his Principles of Scientific Management, a publication that can seen as a turning point in industrial development. His ideas have greatly altered society as a whole, not just the manufacturing sector. We have already mentioned that Edward Bernays invented modern public relations, and businesses have since learned how they can create false demand, ultimately result- ing in our current, unsustainable and wasteful consumerism. Taylor is also the person who helped change the world into what it is but, in his case, the benefits may not have outweighed the detriments. He was one of the founders of what we now call “machine bureaucracy.” The formal, measurable way of working together that we now normally use and perceive was, in fact, conceived by him. Examples of formal and task-oriented organizations existed of course much earlier, the invinci- ble armies of the Rome being one of them. Or consider how the Vatican and the Templars exercised their influence by means of a hierarchical system of rules and procedures. However, the hierarchical control and continuous measurement and adjustment of factories are generally ascribable to Taylor, especially the mathemat- ical and scientific basis for them.77 According to Taylor, businesses work much better if the work is standardized. Work should be carried out according to established procedures and by special- 77 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_management 130 from crowd to Community
  • 129. ized and uniformly trained “workers” with limited responsibilities. The word stupid “drone” is not entirely inappropriate in this context because he saw work- ers as such. Taylor would formalize, standardize and optimize everything “sci- entifically,” allocated the control of processes to managers and had employees work according to fixed procedures, ultimately creating the familiar hierarchical structure, in addition to the primary axis. When organization experts now speak about the “machine bureaucracy,” they are they talking about Taylorism in its purest form. A familiar story about Taylor’s scientific management concerns the development of the best spade or shovel. Standardized processes such as those proposed by Taylor can be systematically optimized, and Taylor explores the best possible shovel size in a report entitled “The science of shoveling.” At the time, it was customary for workers to bring along their own tools, and each worker evi- dently had his own idea of the perfect shovel. In several studies, Taylor discovered that, viewed statistically, workers could on average perform the most work with a shovel that could move 10kg of material at a time. Because sand is heavier than snow, snow shovels can therefore be larger than shovels for sand and, if gold dust shovels existed, they would still be much smaller because gold is much heavier than sand. In the case in question, the productivity of the workers went up by as much as a factor of four. It is no exaggeration to say that Taylor is one of the founders of what we now call “business process improvement.” Later, when Henry Ford used the principles to organize his automotive plants, Taylorism was definitely common property in industry. The much more well- known Fordism, the stereotype assembly-line factory set up is actually “just” an offshoot of Taylorism. The end of Taylorism The world has not stood still since Taylor had his brain waves. Indus- try has evolved, has renewed itself and productivity has soared. The 20th century is said to have provided a 50-fold improvement in productivity. The basic features of the Ford industrial model are however still clearly reflected in modern business. This not only involves factories or other efficient production facilities such as fast- food restaurants, but unexpectedly ministries, banks, insurers and other knowledge- processing organizations as well. So much has changed since Taylor wrote his book 2.0 in business 131
  • 130. and Ford built his factories that the model used and vision applied is now no longer the best. The end of bureaucracy as a dominant organizational model is in sight. The model was conceived for a very different kind of society and reached maturity under very different circumstances.78 At that time production mainly involved physical products like Henry Ford’s cars. Many of the features of our current way of working can be reduced to the physical nature of these products and their associated physical production fa- cilities. Products were manufactured on an assembly line and therefore required that the workers sit in fixed positions along the line at the same time each day and carefully perform the same act repeatedly. For one reason or another, we employed the manner of working that was so logical and effective with regard to physical production for other types of work, namely knowledge work. Most companies that we have constructed in this way without thinking are, in fact, knowledge work factories and, with the emergence of the internet and modern communications technology, this form of organization is becoming a complete impediment. And the form is also unnecessary. If we gave Edward Bernays, and his invention of “marketing” all the blame for a world full of unnecessary, unsustainable but highly fashionable nonsense prod- ucts, we can make Frederick Taylor and his invention of bureaucracy responsible for all the traffic jams and the nine-to -five workday. And as the need for a sus- tainable society will make Bernays’ ideas undesirable, the fast, reliable and ubiq- uitous internet will make Taylor’s ideas obsolete, at least in terms of knowledge work. What works very well for physical plant and production does not function so well for knowledge work. The ultimate expression of misplaced Taylorism are well-known cubicle companies, intensive personnel husbandry. 78 http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Drucker 132 from crowd to Community
  • 131. Intensive personnel husbandry, factory model applied to knowledge work A new model for knowledge work Knowledge work is the enrichment of information, for example the supplementation of a license application with the information that will convert it into a granted license. Or enriching a “request for proposal” (rfp) into an attractive bid. Information does not have the limitations of physical materials for which factories had been designed. Knowledge work concerns information, and informa- tion can be easily and rapidly distributed on the modern internet and made avail- able to workers around the world. To work with information we do not have to travel to that information; we can easily make the information come to us. The stack of paper on our desk is instantly moved to the desktop of the laptop or tablet pc 2.0 in business 133
  • 132. and linked to almost any location on earth. We can therefore make factories vir- tual. The unquestioning use of synchronous communication and and machine-like collaboration expires once worksites are virtualized. We no longer have to physi- cally deliver updated files to the next co-worker in the document production line. Actually, we no longer need factories for knowledge work. There are now other ways in which we may combine our individual efforts into a collective endeavor, much smarter ways as we have seen in previous chapters. At the beginning of this chapter, we gave some clear symptoms of an inappropri- ate organizational model. The cause for each of these symptoms turns out to have the same industrial basis: the misapplication of the bureaucracy (the machine model of collaboration) as organizational forms. Although the problems seem very diverse, they miraculously have the same common denominator: • Although a commumication mismatch always makes the collaboration of teams or organizations with their outside world difficult to organize,, the world inside the team or organization must be organized according to strict proce- dures, with which the outside world cannot be forced to comply. Organizations that work on the basis of standardized processes will always find it tricky to collaborate with their customers and each other because the entire world can- not be encapsulated in a single comprehensive procedure. Each machine (such as a team but also the organization as a whole) is a com- position to which parts cannot be easily added and which does not easily cope with the organic nature of the outside world (as customers). Nor does it read- ily interact with other machines (as other team or organization) because of differences in rhythm. The machine model prevents uninhibited collaboration. • The fact that our companies are inflexible and hard to change is again a direct result of the extensive formalization and optimization. Because the machine consists of such specific and specialized parts, nothing can be changed without completely shutting down, re-designing and reconfig- uring. • The impossibility of the new way of working (any time, any place) in such a structure, is a direct consequence of standard workflows and their underlying synchronicity and sequencing. The machine model imposes a mutual sequentiality. 134 from crowd to Community
  • 133. • The existence of underperforming processes in virtually every company despite all efforts at business process improvement indicates that some processes are fundamentally misplaced. These processes do not probably fit into a bureau- cratic organization. The machine model is not the best for every type of job. • The presence of so much untapped talent in companies is a direct result of the standardization of processes and functions. An organization can do much more than that which is codified in standard processes, and a standard job profile does not, by definition, provide any account of the special talents and other capabilities that an employee might possess. The machine model only incorporates parts with predefined and fixed forms and functions. How astonishing is all this? The most substantial and fundamental problems plaguing major companies are all the result of a single design decision: choosing a bureaucratic or machine model of collaboration. As we have seen in the previous chapter, the machine model has specific proper- ties with advantages and disadvantages. To eliminate the disadvantages while retaining the advantages, we have constructed a complementary model based on stigmergy for the purposes of our method and vision. Following the example of ants. The part neglected by bureaucracy will only be activated if the existing model is replaced by a new model that is at least as effective as the bureaucracy while enriching it. This model is based on a collaboration platform: social soft- ware. By transferring the purposeful, bureaucratic processes in your company to such a platform will ultimately result in a better functioning company possessing the features of both a factory and the Web 2.0 2.0 in business 135
  • 134. The future of your organization in 7 points If all goes well, everything will now fall into place, all the unclear talk, the new concepts and ideas, everything should now hit home! In seven points, the ideas of a unique innovation department will extend to an entirely new model for your organization: • The world around us has changed. • Organizations are displaying increasingly more symptoms of maladjustment to this world • The machine model on which our organizations are based creates this malad- justment. • Web 2.0 has found a new way of working, based on stigmergy, the behavior of the ants. • By adopting this way of working together in organizations, we preserve the advantages of the existing machine model while eliminating the disadvan- tages. • Stigmergy or social collaboration requires a platform in the form of social software, for example. • Step by step, we can now provide an organization with a social dimension by transferring appropriate functions to the appropriate social platform “Der mensch als industriepalast” A word of warning. Getting right down to business, we are a socially committed team of people and we see both the positive and negative consequenc- es of our findings. In this respect, stigmergy, like any other technology, can be used in various ways. A hammer can have both constructive or destructive purposes. Nuclear technology can mean both the death and the salvation of mankind. Tech- nology is neutral and has no opinion. Its use, of course, is another story. We have extensively discussed bureaucracy the pros and cons of it. At the time when Frederick Taylor was bringing industrial production to a higher level by promoting a more scientific approach, people were already warning about the adverse civic and social consequences that such a development entailed. We have now indeed come to regard this kind of approach as highly undesirable. One of the biggest drawbacks to the rationalization of production is that non-productive 136 from crowd to Community
  • 135. but very basic human needs are lost. Simply because such needs are not or insuf- ficiently represented in the data used as a basis for rationalization. A man is not a robot which you can monitor on the basis of indicators such as energy, capac- ity per unit time and so on. A person is not a statistic according to which you can expect performance based on averages and standard distributions. Work is also not at all an objective. On a philosophical but no less real level, it may even be argued that work is just a tool for or a means to a happy society. By looking purely at the figures, humanity is quickly forgotten, especially since modern sci- ence restricts itself to a materialistic perspective. Modern science is based on reductionism, materialism and determinism, ideas encapsulated in the well-known metaphor of “the clockwork universe.” This is in sharp contrast to the man and his psyche that is totally holistic in nature. Happiness cannot be objectively measured, satisfaction cannot be calculated and susceptibility to various physical and emotional discomfort is not conveyed by kpis.79 In this respect, bureaucracy is vacuous. In many of the workshops that we have given, it became apparent that many workers felt their jobs were monotonous and stressful. It is not difficult to see that work becomes boring if people are beaten down into production units with limited job descriptions and continu- ously repetitive patterns of work in which the same product is provided each time. It is amazing how many people are able to carry on this activity, probably “encouraged” in this endeavor by consumer debts and obligations. Taylor and Bernays, there they are again. 79 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clockwork_universe_theory 2.0 in business 137
  • 136. Man is not a robot, familiar figure of Fritz Kahn It is no different with regard to the social tools presented in the second part of this book (TeamPark, platform and method). The form of the social practices that we have chosen as a basis for TeamPark is based on stigmergy: the manner in which social insects, for example, manage to produce their impressive perform- ances. This stigmergy is ideally suited for reducing people even more effectively 138 from crowd to Community
  • 137. to stupid drones. It is easy to think of a stigmergic mechanism by means of which only the most primitive instinctive responses by workers are necessary in order to accumulate a usable group performance. This is exactly what happens in the case of social insects. Ants have a very restricted environment and respond only to simple local stimuli with simple local reactions. Stigmergy, when properly applied, can be used to get the final bit of slack out of the process. This can very well also occur in the case of humans. Ask yourself if that is what you want. Ask yourself whether you too are an em- ployee with normal human needs and acknowledge that others also have such needs. Or are you are just part of the emergent entity that aims to generate maximum profits? A company is not just the sum of Taylor’s measurable factors, it is a habitat for people in need of immeasurable things like trust, companion- ship and security. As for the company as a whole, the ultimate goal is for the employees as individuals to become less important, and this is controlled by a force field that is not subject to a scientific approach. Stigmergic collaboration and TeamPark concepts are fortunately very aptly suit- ed to make work more human and more enjoyable. The can create an environ- ment with greater diversity and variety, one that is more humane, less “optimized” while still enhancing productivity. It is an especially appropriate way to address the inhuman aspects of Taylorism and provide workable solutions. Important considerations that you need before you begin to work with TeamPark concern the type of social activities that you want to encourage and take advantage of. Do you regard workers as ants or do you view them as independent, free, happy people who have a private life in addition to work? Do you opt for an indus- trial social order where people function like robots or do you wish to choose a more sociable social atmosphere? 2.0 in business 139
  • 138. Conclusion Close your eyes, concentrate for a moment and trace in your mind all the processes that one randomly selected file undergoes at your company. All the operations involved until the file is completed. Imagine how all the information products in the company are transformed into finished products in this way, converted step by step from input to output by your employees. Do you have a little Charlie Chaplin- like “Modern Times” image in your head? Are you visualizing in your mind a series of virtual assembly lines? If your company displays any similarity to the common denominator in this regard, your head is now filled with people working like ma- chines, fixed work flows, established teams; in short, it is focused on the machine model. Open your eyes! Wake up! Can it continue to operate in this manner any longer? Now close your eyes again, sit up, open your palms facing up and bring your thumb and forefinger together. Breathe out and make a “Hummm” sound. Indeed! Now imagine a company where no one is permanently assigned to a specific task, a specific expertise or whatever. Specific training is being provided, but nothing more. Imagine that people no longer have to drive to work in the morning, they do not even have to begin working in the morning but simply whenever they like, working at their preferred location, during personally selected intervals. A crowd of people throughout the region, across the country, around the world. To go to work, they log on the social platform and find a kind of market place there. Not one for selling used refrigerators or iPods, but offering tasks and assignments. Any work that is suitable for such means of distribution, that can be subdivided into separate assignable relatively modular tasks and is put up for grabs on this enterprise marketplace. The separate steps in all work flows can be executed in such an environment by anyone assuming the responsibility for performing it. In this market, work can be reserved, performed and delivered on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The platform ensures that all sub-tasks are associated with the right main task and that everything can only occur in the proper sequence. The platform manages a completely scalable collaboration in which no one needs to be controlled, where direct communications are not necessary, not one where people are not stuck in patterns and frameworks. 140 from crowd to Community
  • 139. The image of an organic moving swarm of bees at work in their hive or perhaps ants crawling to work around their nest would be appropriately applied to this situation. The work, the production and revision of documents or knowledge, has obviously to occur in a certain sequence. There is simply a certain intrinsic order of work that must be followed. What is different is the lack of standard procedures and fixed allocation of knowledge, functions and personnel. In cases where certain tasks remain unfilled and unperformed for too long, the platform can provide a mechanism that can prioritize these task on the basis of incentives. The longer such a task stays neglected, the higher its reward and value that is attached to it. Tasks that are reserved for too long without being performed can even be revoked and re-offered on the market. The scenario is also likely scalable. Imagine that you do not have any regular em- ployees, as they are no longer needed. Imagine a global pool of independent en- trepreneurs who go the market place of their choosing every time that they wish to earn money and look for work there. Although such visions are possible, it does not have to be so black and white. You can retain the security of having a perma- nent staff performing a fixed amount of work while allowing the remaining por- tion to be performed by externals, thus providing better flexibility and a regular source of fresh ideas. The two types of working together can be apportioned in any desired ratio. Don’t you see this as obvious? we certainly do! 2.0 in business 141
  • 140. Notes 142 from crowd to Community
  • 141. Final word May 15, 2009—Social software garners 197,000,000 hits on Google and even more on Yahoo (492,000,000). You can therefore say that the subject of this book is hot. A hype. Overhyped? The answer is both yes and no of course. It seems that, in our society, it is not possible to speak of innovation or any new de- velopments in a qualified manner, regardless if they involve it innovations or just ordinary events. It’s all or nothing, breakthrough or flop, success or failure. The world only formulates a more considered view much later, when all the hype is gone. Many things have happened while we were writing this book. We have given presentations, organized workshops and conducted discussions with representa- tives of the top 100 companies in the Netherlands. We have adapted TeamPark in implementing it as a social platform in our own company. There has been a great deal of discussion, sometimes becoming very heated. There have been times when we wanted to stop and moments when we feel that we were riding the crest of a wave, certain that we were mapping out new territory. The book is actually far from finished. There is much more to investigate and explain. A great deal more practical testing must be undertaken. At the same time, when at the end of a long project, you Google “social organization” and find the following blog, you certainly catch your breath. June 25, 2008—do enterprises have the patience to develop communities? Communications, expectations, and business seem to move faster than ever these days. With the constant buzz of the Blackberry, a continuous stream of Tweets, and in incessant interruption of ims our attention spans have dwindled even more. Our collective attention and patience is a dwindling resource. Yet, community dynamics still require a long-term view. Commu- nities—and I don’t mean flash mobs, groups of 10 people, or event attend- ees because those are not communities—take time to develop and flourish. Measuring communities based on quarterly earnings calendars is a bad way to go but most businesses are focused on short term performance. We are under such intense pressure to show results that we often abort efforts that play out over longer periods. Final word 143
  • 142. This is precisely why I think many companies will fail. The benefits of robust communities to a business are enormous and those tantalizing benefits will lead many companies to try to adopt a community strategy. How do we protect community efforts while they are in the maturation stage? How to we measure maturing communities in such a way that we don’t set unach- ievable expectations that then lead to executive disappointment? How do we keep executives interested and engaged while communities are maturing and not yet performing? There are certainly ways to encourage faster community maturity. Creating aggressive content strategies and adoption campaigns certainly helps. Hav- ing a constituency that is already familiar with social media tools is also helpful. Regardless of adoption and tool use robust communities require community leaders (not just sponsors), rich interactions between members, and a collective sense of the community as a whole. Those subtle character- istics cannot be manufactured in any other way but to have the community develop those traits organically over time. Communities are one of the hardest types of organizations to launch, de- velop, and sustain. Two years is a reasonable ramp period and growth comes in fits and starts—etrics have to change over time too.)80 Take a deep breath! Two years is a long time to stop working in order to build and maintain communities before you might have a chance of getting anything out of it. Nevertheless, we strongly felt that we needed to finish the first book at this point, and the feeling that now persists is one of satisfaction. No, it will not be easy. No, it will not immediately be only beneficial. But we are firmly convinced that the emergence of social software will in a few years be viewed as a clearly dis- tinguishing moment. A point in time when a transition to a new way of working together was created. The history of work will be divided into a time before social software and the time after social software. Some developments cannot simply be held at bay. 80 http://www.thesocialorganization.com/ 144 from crowd to Community
  • 143. Especially when, at the last moment, it becomes possible to include the following message showing that we also have the political wind in our sails;) Plea for social innovation in industry report (fragment)81 In the Industry Report from the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs, Minister van der Hoeven not only draws attention to the need for technologi- cal innovation but also the need for social innovation. See citation below: ‘Social Innovation’ To enable the process of innovation to reach its full potential will require an innovative environment in which there is plenty of investment in people and organization; in short, social innovation. Social innovation involves the renewal of the work organization and the maximized use of employee skills in order to improve (business) performance and the development of talent. This calls for innovations in management, organization and employment in companies, organizations and institutions. Making the best use of (poten- tial) labor capital through flexible organization, dynamic management and smarter work practices will increase the productivity of work …… The existence of this book is mainly due to the tireless efforts of Patrick Savalle, whose constant stream of texts and seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of this field laid the foundation for TeamPark. Together with Arnd Brugman and Wim Hofland, the other members of Innovation & Inspiration, a great deal of pleasur- able work has been devoted to the development of the final product since 2008. The above represents a source of inspiration and a starting point. We hope that our stories and examples will inspire you to take action. We therefore urge you to go on and read Part 2 of this book: TeamPark—Platform and Methodology. 81 (Bron: persbericht ministerie van ez en “Industrie een wereld van oplossingen. Industriebrief 2008” pag. 27, zie www.minez.nl) Final word 145

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