Collective Consciousness/Smart Mobs/Convergence/Yikes!

Cover of the report, “Rise of the Participation Culture” (click for larger view)

The response to my Rise of the Participation Culture report has been phenomenal. So much so that I’ve been contacted by a number of people at large companies with incredible opportunities that I’m not sure are ones I can embrace due to available time and my current focus.

The intent of the report has been one part of the answer to the question I’ve been asking most of this year: What does the world need that I can uniquely deliver? With this high level report I’ve metaphorically scooped up just a cupful of ocean water regarding the culture of participation…and there’s a lot more water where that came from!

After pinging several thought leaders whom I respect and would LOVE to have in a room talking about how big the ocean-of-collective-consciousness really is, I came away with some thought leading resources I’d like to share with you. (By the way, the people I pinged included Howard Rheingold, Henry Jenkins and Danah Boyd among others).

I was pointed to some amazing resources…

Howard got back to me and pointed to the Cooperation Commons. I was unaware of it and stunned with what’s there. Their resource page alone is where I’ll invest at least 25 hours or more this week reading, watching videos and listening to podcasts. Henry’s the director of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence which is another place where analysis and thought is converging on this area. Oh man…to be back in college deep into research and connected with the best and brightest!

So many of us are pushing against the membrane of the future. I’m one guy with one set of experiences and a unique enterprise/small company/technology perspective. My intent is not to boil-the-ocean since it’s a lot easier to boil a cupful of ocean water (a mentor of mine always challenges my focus by asking, “So Borsch…are you trying to boil the ocean?” when I get too grandiose).

It’s been said that all great discoveries and inventions start with asking the right questions. Without stating my initial answers…let me instead throw out the questions I’ve been asking that feel right now like “boil the ocean” questions…but I think they’ll lead me to focused answers and direction:

  • How can business balance transparency, authenticity, engaging the collective intelligence of customers and prospects without being too open and expose their competitive advantages and intellectual property?
  • In what ways can organizations get into real, human conversations that benefit and enhance both parties? Can business think beyond “harnessing the collective intelligence” for fun and profit and not just consider what’s being talked about with social software (i.e., how to “leverage” their most precious resource…their customer?)
  • What happens to capitalism, commerce, taxation and money as the world accelerates toward free?

Now before you scoff, think about open source software, Wikipedia, Second Life, Skype telephony and all the other free offerings. These offerings receive “units of value” from the developers, administrators and contributors and the success of them is in direct proportion to the “consumption of value” by the adoption and use of the project or offering itself (critical mass and all that).

No money and no bartering occur. To me, this is the #1 question I’m thinking about right now and am looking forward to reading Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics and poking around the places I’ve linked to above. It won’t just be smart mobs or the collective co-creating value that will be the biggest revolution to occur with the participation culture…it’ll be the new economic and business models that come to the fore where value is exchanged that isn’t monetary. THAT is the reason I’m so excited to be connected to these smart people and others clustering around the emergent collective consciousness on the ‘net.

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  1. ZOverLord on November 26, 2006 at 9:59 pm

    Until we glue the fractured community we call the Internet together by allowing these well connected sub-communties to actually interact and comminicate ideas, thoughts, feelings, assumtions about other cultures. We can’t take advantage of the true worldwide online resources available. This is why the “Universal Chat” translator and speaker for Skype was created to help that start to take place. More information here:

  2. ZOverLord on November 26, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    Sorry for the Typos.

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.