Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Social Life of Information

John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid | The Social Life of Information | Harvard Business School Press; 1st edition, February 15, 2002

See amazon review: here

See website here



John Seely Brown and John Hagels | Connecting Globalization & Innovation: Some Contrarian Perspectives | Davos Economic Forum Paper, Jan 2006: pdf here



“Who we know is more important than what we own. Traditional business strategies are delivering diminishing returns.“

“As change accelerates, our stocks of physical assets and knowledge depreciate at a more rapid rate. Flows of new knowledge become critical to competitive success and these flows occur only in the context of relationships. Successful strategies will depend on privileged positions in rich networks of relationships. In this world, the primary value of assets is their ability to help us build and sustain relationships.”

“Whatever our existing capabilities, we will only succeed in the future by finding ways to get better faster than others. No matter how good we are internally, we will be able to get better even faster by working with others at the edge because people with complementary capabilities can help us to find creative ways to deepen and extend those capabilities."



Broadband, innovation at the edge

The COOK Report on Internet has identified The Social Life of Information as a powerful tool for navigating the new "informational" environment. Affirming JSB/BH's precept that “unbundling the firm enables even more rapid growth", Cook affirms "this new paradigm of relationships", the new ecologies of collaboration and insight within the global conversation of the Internet:

"(...) this new paradigm of relationships – of discovering what works and who has the most innovative ideas. The broadband edge based Internet with increasingly powerful real time collaborative tools has enabled the formation of many new and agile and web based eco-systems. Business opportunities globally are to be found in these environments and not in the Central Planning Ministries of the telco cable co walled gardens".

We are finding our feet within the new world that the Internet is making possible. Cook affirms the cardinal principles of "boundary crossing, collaboration and cooperation" amongst peer-producers at the edge. "The grand unifying unspoken theme", says Cook,

"(is)the innovation unleashed when in an end-to-end network people just do what needs to be done without having to get the permission of the centralized controllers of society".

The Invisible Wealth of Nations

Photo: shows advert for Intel Centrino lap-top, Edinburgh railway station. See also: "Wi-fi trains arrive nine months early" here

"The World The Railways Made" is the memorable title of a historical volume. We are finding our feet within the new world that the Internet is making possible.

In the era of "hard" modernity the social drama unfolded on the monumental scale of Industrialism. Yet whereas the steam engine was the principal technological means of revolutionizing the social order of nineteenth century Industrialism (cf Lenin's Imerialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism), the Wealth of Nations of the twenty first century is a largely invisible affair.

The miniaturized scale of the microprocessor and the revolutionary dynamic of Moore's Law are hardly matters of crowd gathering and popular celebration, such as the Victorian pageantry that accompanied the opening of a new railway station. For contemporary counterparts do we look at the marketing efforts surrounding new generations of operating system and micro-processor, so that the Centrino wireless chip-set assumes the rank of a Flying Scotsman?.

The "liquid" modernity of the digital age is sweeping all before it, just as the railways. Under the "hard" modernity of industrial capitalism, power lay in concentrated form (capital, labour) and the visible disparities of wealth set the progressive social agenda.

In today's "liquid" modernity phase of global networks and flows, power lies in radically distributed forms and the very means of wealth are largely invisible.

"Access" has formed a new site of struggle (cf Rifkin, The Age of Access). A new struggle for "citizenship" surrounds the "digital commons", and the principles of Open Networks, Open Source, and Open Spectrum.



The COOK Report on Internet, March - April 2006, Exploring Role of Networks in the Future of Global Economy: here

April 7, 2006, The Hundt for better business models, Posted by Dana Blankenhorn @ 10:55 am: here. See also Dana Blankenhorn for a full account of Reed Hundt's speech here.

Net Neutrality vs. Net Neutering, By Doc Searls on Fri, 2006-03-03 02:00 : here

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