« The New Economics of Work | Main | Predicting the future in 1945 »

Wiki Away

While reading through this weeks assigned readings I found a quote that was really pretty brilliant. On page 243 of Wikinomics Robert Stevens said "I'm now going to try and discover their agenda, and serve it" in reference to the communication and collaboration techniques being utilized by the Geek Squad. I have personally seen corporate pecking order destroy creative talent. Stevens' quote really put into perspective how important it is to allow the users to generate and decide the mode of communication. In the case of Geek Squad, they found that communication through playing Battlefield 2 was far more successful then trying to collaborate on the wiki. This concept really brought the readings into focus for me.

Moving backwards a little, the whole concept of the wiki, as introduced by Stafford and Webb was a little narrow. They said that it could be used for writing essays or books but failed to illustrate the other functional aspects of the wiki such as the design example given in Wikinomics. Stafford and Webb spoke about their experience with the wiki while writing a book or the practical aspect of designing an essay in it since wikis let you work without notes. They missed the engineering and artchitectual aspects. The Geek Squaders used their company wiki to design a product that they thought would best serve their customers ( Tapscott 243-244). The wiki was their shared drawing board that had one major advantage, it never runs out of space. The use of the wiki to design the flash drive allowed mass collaboration on a very interesting level. Employees around the world could bring their ideas, drawings, and concepts to a preverbal whiteboard. It was an unlimited space with unlimited potential. Without the wiki only a small group would have been able to participate in the design process, the wiki opened the doors to everyone throughout the country.

Despite Stafford and Webb's lack of scope regarding the use of wikis they did very accurately illustrate the advantages: 1) instant collaboration without regards to location or time 2) One master document that everyone can view, share, and edit which prevents duplicate work and open one person's ideas up to everyone 3) Every page revision is saved and archived which allows the users to monitor the development of the project 4) Everyone has a say. No one is excluded as a result of geographic location or limited meeting space that happens in the standard board rooms. (2)

There was one more thought from Wikinomics that I would like to comment on and that is the concept that the "Net Generation" seeks to dissipate the pre-existing hierarchies in the corporate workplace. Networking, particularly wikis, allows workers to disperse over a greater geographical error which will potentially eliminate the role of the typical boss (246). I thought this was a great thought. Working in the corporate world I can say that I often push our office to adapt new methods of communication and collaboration so that physical boundaries no longer limit us. The internet has brought such a wide range of clients to many companies, why shouldn't it also bring a wide range of employees. i think one day we will see many companies who have employees located all across the country. Most of these employees may never meet each other face-to-face but will probably know each other only through the virtual world. In this completely virtual corporate world bosses will cease to exist and cubicles will be a thing of the past. Working where you want when you want through the use of wikis may be coming in the near future.

Comments

Hi Stephanie, I'm all about quotes. I love quotes! So when you wrote in your post that you "found a quote that was really pretty brilliant. On page 243 of Wikinomics Robert Stevens said 'I'm now going to try and discover their agenda, and serve it' in reference to the communication and collaboration techniques being utilized by the Geek Squad"--I was happy that you found a quote you thought was brilliant. For some reason, that quote reminded me of what Tyra Banks said once in the show "America's Next Top Model". She said if you do something (a pose) after the original model, make it your own. This was said to a contestant that was doing the exact pose of another model. Tyra suggested to add her own flavor to it. So, let's say Heidi Klum was posing on a bike riding normally . . . the contestant should pose on a bike but maybe have her hands off the handles so it would look like she was riding with no hands. So going back to the quote, "I'm now going to try and discover their agenda, and serve it"--I support what Tyra says. I would also give credit where necessary; I think that's very important. Thanks for sharing the quote, Steph!

Not having any other example besides WikipediaI was struggling a bit this week to understand more precisely how a wiki functions. The readings focused more on the philosophy of wikis versus their actual use. Your analogy of the whiteboard made the function of a wiki very clear to me. Enumerating the advantages of wikis was also very helpful because it also revealed more about the process of creating via a wiki than was revealed in our readings. I appreciate you sharing your experience and insight.