9 March 2006

Who Owns the Wisdom of Crowds?

Can anyone really own an idea? Until an idea evolves into a conceptual framework, we cannot connect the value relationships.

The wisdom of crowds is not in an idea - it's in the sharing of knowledge and context creation. It's about relationships between the people, the ideas, the formats, the channels, the message. It’s how those relationships connect to create a value concept larger than any one person's contribution or simple participation. This idea evolves and develops through dialogue.

These value relationships can also happen automatically and emerge from an organic outgrowth. Many contradictions will also emerge since there have been no agreements on how to act on what gets created.

We can also negotiate with one another to agree upon each of our roles in the value streams that generate from application of the concept into value creation contexts. This is how complex conceptual networks capture value for all to see and share. The key is to agree on participation, contribution, application, distribution, and so on. If so, then we need to establish a formula that will deliver a virtuous value stream for all participants who serve a purpose in the concept.

For many thinkers and creative types, the personal, social and conceptual capital is enough. But, is it? For most shareholders of a concept, the transactional capital is enough. But, is it?

The real value - in today's currency capital - is in the application of a concept. So, how we package our relationships, the content, and the wisdom that comes from sharing, will determine how we generate value as this package finds its value in the outside world. It has to serve a purpose for someone or for some group...much like it has served a purpose for those developing it. Who benefits from that?

This purpose is what enslaves people in the concept - whether it is to participate, contribute, apply it, buy it, whatever. Defining this purpose for each group along the way is what clarifies the value it creates. Real value gets generated through a discovery process that creates meaning and defines purpose through that meaning. But, when we apply that idea-now-evolved-into-a-value-concept and earn money with it, is that acceptable? This is the world where the Creative Commons is trying to make sense.

So, with that said. What value is this line of thinking and sharing creating for you? Share that as well as your knowledge and ideas - and let's see what that looks like when we begin to package it for the outside world, where it has the possibility to connect to the transactional value and build a virtuous value stream for all concerned.

After all, what is security really? It's a core value that drives behavior to make certain choices that will deliver that sense of security. Doesn't a transparent and clarified “virtuous value stream” generate security?

Who owns the wisdom of crowds? This is an open discussion that I hope will lead to some enlightening dialogue. There are so many issues tied to this.

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