“Wikinomics” by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams

It’s always interesting to look at different business models, different thoughts and ways to build successful companies and products. A best-seller about the subject is the book called “Wikinomics” by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, looking at how to build on the power of openness and transparency for success.

Building on the amazing success of open-source in the software development world, this book looks at business models that apply similar strategies as a competitive advantage compared to other players in their respective industries. With many insightful examples and sometimes ideas going at the opposite of the traditional corporate thinking, this book is worth a read!

The books description on amazon.com states following:

The word “wiki” means “quick” in Hawaiian, and here author and think tank CEO Tapscott (The Naked Corporation), along with research director Williams, paint in vibrant colors the quickly changing world of Internet togetherness, also known as mass or global collaboration, and what those changes mean for business and technology. Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia written, compiled, edited and re-edited by “ordinary people” is the most ubiquitous example, and its history makes remarkable reading. But also considered are lesser-known success stories of global collaboration that star Procter & Gamble, BMW, Lego and a host of software and niche companies. Problems arise when the authors indulge an outsized sense of scope-“this may be the birth of a new era, perhaps even a golden one, on par with the Italian renaissance, or the rise of Athenian democracy”-while acknowledging only reluctantly the caveats of weighty sources like Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Methods for exploiting the power of collaborative production are outlined throughout, an alluring compendium of ways to throw open previously guarded intellectual property and to invite in previously unavailable ideas that hide within the populace at large. This clear and meticulously researched primer gives business leaders big leg up on mass collaboration possibilities; as such, it makes a fine next-step companion piece to James Surowiecki’s 2004 bestseller The Wisdom of Crowds.

When looking for specific information, I find myself regularly starting on Wikipedia, an only encyclopedia entirely build by volunteers all around the internet in a highly collaborative way. When I look for a specific information, I got there first, even before I start searching on Google. Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, also known as LAMP, have become one of the most widely used web server solution (this blog runs WordPress on a LAMP configuration) and are completely free, developed in an open and collaborative way by thousands of volunteers around the Interweb. There must be something behind the model used to develop these great solutions that can be applied to the business world. That’s the topic of the book “Wikinomics”.

Through numerous examples, ranging from a mining company, to motorcycle manufacturers and even Lego, this book looks at what has made these businesses so successful. Recognizing that even the largest enterprises don’t have enough resources internally to out-think very innovative start-ups or individuals, being able to harness the power of the commons has proven to be a deciding business advantage for these companies. By being open and inviting people outside the traditional walls of the company to participate in the future of products and services, these companies have been able to deliver more and faster than ever before and have proven to be strong competitors to businesses with strong market leadership. Throughout this book, D. Tapscott and A. Williams detail the main principle of wikinomics: Being open, Peering, Sharing and Acting globally. Covering concepts such as Ideagoras, Prosumers and platforms for participations, this book is well worth the read.