Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, 6775 Readings

Distributed Innovation and Creativity, Peer Production, and Commons in Networked Economy

The emerging technological feasibility of social production generally, and peer production—the kind of large-scale collaboration of which Wikipedia is the most prominent example—more specifically, is interacting with the high rate of change and the increasing complexity of global innovation and production systems. As complexity and the rate of change increase, twentieth century organizational models are becoming too slow and too rigid to sense their environment, understand their limitations, to experiment with change, adapt to it, and adopt the innovations it necessitates. Increasingly, in the business literature and practice, we see a shift toward a range of open innovation and production techniques—techniques that accept that you can never assume that the best person or resource set for any given job is one that you already employ or with whom you have a well-defined contractual relationship. Instead, we see firms and other organizations adopting a range of models that permit for more fluid flows of information, talent, and projects across and among organizations depending on the degree of uncertainty associated with their activities. Social production in the commons becomes the outer fringe of these open strategies; where experimentation under conditions of extreme uncertainty and high complexity can be done on models that require no clear appropriation model, and therefore can be carried on with very high rates of failure.

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Read also: Change: 19 Key Essays on How the Internet Is Changing Our Lives

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