Who Is Leading WikiRevolutions?

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What about the correlations between hierarchies and networks?

Don Tapscott: Hierarchies won’t go away, not in my lifetime. But increasingly things get done in networks. In networks that go beyond the boundaries of the corporation, so boundary decisions are very critical and it’s a part of this strategy. Networks usually perform better than traditional, vertically integrated corporations. The future is about networks, but there’s a big transitional period. Hierarchies still perform certain functions. They’re a good way of organizing work and labour and having certain accountabilities and responsibilities and so on, but increasingly they’re not going to be the modus operandi in the core architectural principle of an enterprise that the network is.

How do integrity and interdependency fit in with this networked model of leadership?

Don Tapscott: If we are serious about rebooting business and the world, then we must not only be able to talk innovation, but do innovation and do it fast. Every stakeholder involved must summon the courage and creativity to reinvent themselves, using technology and collaboration as an enabler, a catalyst and a driver of change. The goal to provide better outcomes for citizens and users. This is not about tinkering at the edges; this is about devising, living and experiencing a new model of innovation that is fit for the 21st century. The five principles we discussed earlier – openness, collaboration, sharing, interdependence and integrity – should define how 21st century corporations, citizens and nations create value, compete and collaborate together in a global marketplace and a global society. This is very different from the hierarchical, closed, secretive, and insular approach to wealth creation, social development, politics and problem solving that dominated the previous century.

Your message in MacroWikinomics is actually that you can transfer these 5 organizing principles to any kind of field we’re living and working in.

Don Tapscott: Yes.

Is it really the same to run a company, a university or even a nation?

Don Tapscott: Of course not, but the organizing principles are the same!
We are going through fundamental change, not just through some interesting set of changes. I think many of these institutions have an industrial age architecture and modus operandi. They come out of the industrial age. And what is going on today is not some aftermath of an economic slump or a big weird social media revolution thing – it’s a turning point in history where we need to rebuild all of these institutions. Of course science is very different from the energy grid, but the organizing principles for the new model are the same – collaboration, openness, sharing intellectual property, interdependency and integrity. We have a new communications media enabling us to rebuild these institutions.

What kind of effect did the shutdown of the internet in Egypt have?

Don Tapscott: Oh! That was clearly the end. When they did that, if anyone was not sympathetic with the young protestors, it made them so. It was a statement on the lack of integrity on the part of the Government. Integrity is about being considerate about the interests of others. It’s about abiding by your commitments and about being open, about being honest. When Mubarak shut down the internet, that was it. People just said, “You know this government is just not acting like it’s interested. It just doesn’t have integrity.”
It’s just not a viable strategy to shut the internet down because increasingly the internet is a foundation for commerce, for work, for learning, healthcare and social discourse. Shutting down the Internet will have the impact on your own country of a successful and massive general strike.

So my last question is, if you had to name a couple of companies who are really performing well in this networked world, which ones would you name and why?

Don Tapscott: Best Buy, certainly. It’s a company in a brutally competitive market place – consumer electronics – during a huge economic recession.
Their main competitor went bankrupt. Best Buy survived and it is doing well. The reason they’re doing well is because they’re empowering young people. No ’WikiRevolution’ needed there! They used networks and they changed their business model. They are not a retailer of consumer electronics any longer, they’re becoming a company that builds relationships with consumers where there’s a deep exchange of values. One of them being that people buy stuff and pay money.

Thanks a lot.

Don Tapscott: My pleasure, as usual.

Leading From The Edge
(John Hagel)
A Wake-up Call For Despots (Lee Bryant)
Political Leadership Goes WE! (Sabine Donner)
Doing It The Wiki Way (Frank Roebers)


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