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Causing Mass Collaboration - Summary

Causing Mass Collaboration - Summary

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Published by Shaun Abrahamson
How do some of the worlds leading organizations work with very large groups of people to create and improve products, services and communications?

We review what has been achieved when organizations work with large groups of people who have no formal ties to the organization - such as customers or prospective customers. We call these efforts Mass Collaboration.

A framework is proposed to help improve the planning and execution of Mass Collaboration. Finally some conclusions are discussed as well as recommendations for follow-on work.

The framework is available at www.colaboratorie.org.
How do some of the worlds leading organizations work with very large groups of people to create and improve products, services and communications?

We review what has been achieved when organizations work with large groups of people who have no formal ties to the organization - such as customers or prospective customers. We call these efforts Mass Collaboration.

A framework is proposed to help improve the planning and execution of Mass Collaboration. Finally some conclusions are discussed as well as recommendations for follow-on work.

The framework is available at www.colaboratorie.org.

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Published by: Shaun Abrahamson on Jul 09, 2009
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08/25/2009

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Summary
Master’s Thesis
Causing Mass Collaboration
Shaun Abrahamson
Master of Business AdministrationCreative LeadershipClass of 2008-2009Editing Time from: April 2008until: July 2009
 
Causing Mass Collaboration
 
Shaun Abrahamson
 
1
 What do leading organizations such as Google, Apple, Starbucks and P&G havein common? They are leaders in their respective industries in terms of marketshare, growth or product innovation. They also have something else in common –they are finding new ways to collaborate with people outside their organizationssuch as customers and partners.This apparent theme provided motivation for the following hypothesis: Organiza-tions are able to create the most competitive products, services and communica-tions when they find
the right ways to engage their communities
of customers andpartners in specific tasks in their creative processes.To test this thesis, the research begins by analyzing what has been achievedusing “Mass Collaboration“, contrasting these efforts with traditional processes.Then the technical, social and management trends that are fueling “Mass Colla-boration” are discussed. To understand how organizations can
engage their communities in the right way 
, leading practitioners are interviewed, case studiesare reviewed and the author participates in and observes a number of Mass Col-laboration efforts. From this research a number of critical factors without which,Mass Collaboration are unlikely to result in superior outcomes. These factors areorganized into the OPTO framework. Finally, conclusions are discussed and rec-ommendations are made for future work.
Background
In 2006, Wikipedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales,claimed that about 500 people were responsible for managing Wikipedia.Aaron Swartz surprised many – when he refuted this claim and observed that there was a
much larger group contributing most of the new information to Wikipedia
. While Wale’s 500 were making manyedits, a much larger part of the community was adding most of the new informa-tion with just a few edits each –according to Wikipedia statistics, 
158,065
havecontributed the English version of Wikipedia. By comparison, the reference, prior to Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica, has
4,411 
named contributors. While Wikipedia relies on a community of more than 150,000 people, Googledepends on an even larger community. “Google works because it relies on the
 
Causing Mass Collaboration
 
Shaun Abrahamson
 
2
 millions of individuals posting websites to determine which other sites offer content of value...This technique actually improves as the web gets bigger, aseach new site is another point of information and another vote to be counted.” –Ten things Google has found to be true. The value created by Google search is in part, the result of people who do notwork for Google. One might argue that these are isolated examples specific tonew technology-based businesses, but mature industries are being transformedby the same idea. In 2009 Mass Collaboration is redefining the processes of creating and publishing news. New collaboration is happening between traditionalnews organizations and individual news gatherers on Twitter .More structuredinteraction is also happening such asEconomist Debates or CNN iReport or  Bild.de user submitted video or most recently The Guardian MP Expenses re- search project.Beyond the larger, more visible transformations in media and technology indus-tries, Mass Collaboration is being used by consumer service and product compa-nies to solicit new ideas and to gather feedback. Some examples include Star-buck’sMyStarbucksIdea;MUJI’s design communityMUJI.net; P&G Connect & Develop to encourage sharing of ideas and solutions with those outside the P&Gorganization; Unilever  Mindbubble community to co-create with women; Innocen- tive works on behalf of multiple organizations to connect them with people to helpthem solve their toughest R&D problems.
Changing Social and Technology Environment
In 2005, Tim O’Reilly defined the term Web 2.0 identifying a new focus on howpeople interact with one another and their online tools to create new kinds of val-ue. Since 2005 there has been
 with e-mail, communities and search, underscoring the importance of O’Reilly’s obser-vation. People are creating and interacting in new ways, because new tools arebeing created to make these interactions possible.Forrester ResearchSocial Technographics classifies types of interaction and participation levels, from those who create and share content such as video, im-

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