Charles Leadbeater, author of We-Think, sees the new means of networked collaboration as presaging a new production model: 'Mass Innovation rather than Mass Production'.
Interesting quote from one of the participants in a British panel to be held next week on "The Future of Collaboration."
Can online technology make collaboration less intrusive and more productive? To me the trick is to manage the technology and not let the technology manage you. Learn when to turn it off, and when to spend the time to tweak settings so that you are pushed things that will interest you, rather than a lot of distracting noise.
I do think that innovation is the key factor for humans to thrive. With limited resources and an expanding population we have to learn how to be more efficient and do things better. And sometimes doing things better is actually almost a reverse innovation - and innovation back into simplicity, if you will. Like the kid making windmills to power homes in India out of bicycle parts.
How does online collaboration factor in? Take this for an example: I am a member of an online knitting community called Ravelry. Through the yarn forums I learn about a hand spun yarn made from sheep grown on a small farm. I am provided with an etsy.com link to the spinner's store and buy a gorgeous hank of hand spun yarn. The high tech online community (Ravelry) and the handicraft marketplace (Etsy) have enabled a small family owned farm and a hand spinner of fleece into yarn to have a profitable cottage business model.
I am not sure if this is what Mr. Leadbeater is writing about, but I am interested to read his book We-Think: Mass innovation, not mass production .