What good is collective intelligence for organizations, especially businesses? After all, businesses have to deal with competition, and therein lies a constant struggle for supremacy of product as compared to other market offerings. Such supremacy can only be achieved through secrecy, right? Doesn’t this mean we have to be careful with what we share and with whom?
Well, Tapscott and Williams again argue that such is not the case, and Collective Intelligence, even based on the four key principles they have introduced, can be quite beneficial to companies and organizations, even for-profit ventures. According to their research, they find that instilling a culture that encourages collective intelligence can help private ventures in three distinct areas: Reducing Costs, Using Talents, and Market Creation.
The idea here is that a company can make a better product, in less time, by releasing a version of that product to public communities. The thinking here is that a large group of skilled minds working on the problem can fix a product more quickly, and at a much lower cost than if a company tried to keep all the development and debugging an in-house concern. This generally assumes that the product released to the community will be free and open sourced, but that implies also that any work done on the product by this community will also be free on the business’ behalf.
Using New Talents
Hiring new talent can be extremely costly in terms of both time and money. It can take many months to find and hire the right kind of person for the job, and they might not come cheap or stay long in any case. By leveraging Collective Intelligence in the Tapscott/Williams framework a company can leverage more, possibly better, talent – which might even be willing to work for free.
Collective Intelligence might also be helpful in generating new markets for products that are complimentary to that which is given away as part of a collective intelligence gathering operation. The idea here is that if a free product or idea works better in the company of products that are not free, new markets for those ancillary products might begin to emerge. Even if the “product” is an idea, there may be additional sales in research related goods, products, or services.