July 5, 2010

HIS COUNTRY OWES ADMIRAL POINDEXTER AN APOLOGY:

Should we trust the wisdom of crowds? (Tom de Castella, 7/05/10, BBC)

There are numerous modern examples of how collaboration has transformed businesses, Williams says. One good recent example is that of the Canadian mining company Goldcorp, which was struggling financially and unable to find gold on its land in northern Ontario.
When a new chief executive arrived he put all its geological data online, asked for help on where the gold was located and put up $500,000 in prize money for accurate suggestions.

"They got submissions from people all over the world, including people using 3D computer modelling techniques. They found $3bn worth of gold on the property and Goldcorp became one of Canada's biggest mining companies."

It's just one of a number of examples of how opening a problem out to the public and away from a small pool of workers can lead to huge gains, Williams says.

"These things happen a lot. You're making a problem accessible to a large range of people with a diverse range of skills. And it turns out it's not just for companies it applies to government as well."

The idea is gaining traction in the normally more conservative corridors of the public sector, says Natalie Evans, deputy director of think tank Policy Exchange.

"We now have the technology to reach a huge pool of talent and ideas from the general public in way that simply wasn't possible before. Done properly, this means we can leverage mass collaboration in a way that fosters a sense of 'public buy-in'.

"This can be particularly important where - say in the case of deciding where the axe must fall in terms of cutting public spending - there are difficult decisions to be made."

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 5, 2010 8:17 AM
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