iTunes U Course: TED Talks Leading Wisely
Lecture (iTunes): Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration
Fantastic presentation from TED 2005, Clay Shirky discusses the historic approach to getting something done, create an institution, either for profit, not-for profit, governmental, etc., then create a management structure, define your institutional goals and start going. Many time, the goals of supporting an organizational structure get in the way of doing what the organization was established to do.
The rise of the internet, and social media in particular, offer a new way. Clay presents the Flickr, the photo sharing website. This type of system crowd sources the activity of collecting photographs, then adds the notion of tagging to allow the community to organize itself. Tagging was popularized by another social site, http://delicious.com/.
The result is spectacular, goals can be achieved faster, cheeper and with more democracy. The example being Flickr vs. professional photographers. The pros charge to be sent to a given location ,then only "see" what they happen to see. This vers the community approach where different individuals provide different insights to the same event.
This is a particularly amazing time to be alive, we are transitioning to a new way or working, much more cooperative than ever before.
Interesting personal parallel, my company launched a corporate service called Chatter a few years back which plays directly in this same space. Open, social and mobile.