Tuesday, November 28, 2006

We Are Smarter Than Me

This afternoon I was listening to All Things Considered on my drive home. I do enjoy NPR, but depending on what is going on in my head...the topics randomly move in and out of my radar. One topic today that fascinates me was called Using the Wiki Method to write a Business Book. It is a study by MIT, Wharton & potentially YOU on how Web 2.0 can benefit business. Seems to me that this may be an experience that many lowcountry bloggers would enjoy exploring. Below is the press release:

We Are Smarter - Official Press Release - 11/16/2006
For Release
Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006, 11am EST
More Than a Million Invited to Write and Edit

First Collaborative Book on Management Best Practices

Pearson To Participate in New Publishing Model In Conjunction with Wharton, MIT and Shared Insights

We Are Smarter Than Me Set for Publication in Fall 2007
Upper Saddle River, NJ/Philadelphia, PA/Cambridge, MA – Nov. 16, 2006 – Taking a page from Wikipedia®, publishing giant Pearson, under its Wharton School Publishing imprint, has embarked on a new book publishing project with two innovative collaborators that could involve thousands, if not tens of thousands of authors and editors.

Starting this week, more than a million business professionals and scholars, including faculty, students, alumni, and newsletter recipients from two of the nation’s most prestigious graduate schools of business, the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, will receive messages inviting them to collectively write and edit the book, tentatively titled We Are Smarter Than Me (www.wearesmarter.org).

Pearson, MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, and the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania will collaborate to produce the first community-driven “networked” book on business best practices.

The book’s content will examine how Web 2.0 technologies such as social networks, wikis and blogs can benefit the business enterprise. Additionally, MIT and Wharton will also have access to the contributions, and expect to conduct and publish primary research on whether collective projects like this can help guide the future of industry in the areas of customer service, product innovation, market research, and sales.

Contributing authors will be asked to provide real examples of companies that are trying to harness the power of communities. We Are Smarter Than Me will then explore why certain approaches have worked while others did not, and suggest best practices for companies to follow to make more effective use of collaboration. The book will encourage contributors to offer their thoughts on such areas as community-based market research, selling items on eBay or other similar sites, and raising capital via the Internet on peer sites like Prosper.

In his 2005 book, The Wisdom of Crowds, New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki explored the idea that large groups of people working together can be “smarter” than an elite few. They are sometimes better at solving problems, fostering innovation, coming to wise decisions, even predicting the future. Building on that idea in two respects, We Are Smarter Than Me will look to large groups of people to contribute their writings on the subject of how community is impacting business functions that are currently performed by separate companies, industries, and experts.

Already, more than a thousand contributors have initiated the project by registering at the We Are Smarter Than Me website. This “networked” book collaboration will allow all registered members of the community to edit, add, and delete content from the website. Shared Insights™ US, LLC, a Woburn, MA-based company that provides multi-channel community and social networking for enterprises, will facilitate the collective publishing venture using wiki technology and Web 2.0 tools.

A draft of the We Are Smarter Than Me manuscript, and the book authors’ key findings, will be presented at Community 2.0, a conference scheduled for March 2007 in Las Vegas. In the fall of 2007, We Are Smarter Than Me is expected to be published in book form by Pearson’s Wharton School Publishing, even as the online community continues to create and update new content for the book on the website. All contributors will be credited.

“Like Wikipedia, and with core contributors initially comprised of many of the world’s leading business thinkers, We Are Smarter Than Me may usher in a new model for how book publishers can acquire, create and market their content, as well as how their books can be distributed and used,” said Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia and member of We Are Smarter Than Me’s Board of Advisors. “I look forward to reading this work in progress.”

“This initiative will mark the first time that a major book publisher enables thousands of people to collectively contribute to today’s body of business knowledge,” said Jon Spector, vice dean of Executive Education at the Wharton School. “Through this exciting process, they can all help to create the management best practices of tomorrow and a vibrant community as well.”

“I believe the movement toward more decentralized decision-making in business will, in the long run, be as important a change for business as the democracy movement was for governments,” said Thomas Malone, MIT’s Director of the Center for Collective Intelligence, author of the influential book The Future of Work, and chair of the Advisory Board for the We Are Smarter Than Me project. “Like Wikipedia, Google™, and others, this project has the potential to connect people and computers so that collectively they act more intelligently than any individual, group, or computer has ever done before.”

“Today’s businesses, to ensure their continued success and growth, need to learn to leverage the power of ‘community,’ said Barry Libert, chief executive officer, Shared Insights. “A few books have been written on this subject, but none, paradoxically, have been written by more than one person.”

“Today’s business readers are bombarded with many new ideas,” said Jerry Wind, the Lauder Professor; professor of Marketing at the Wharton School and co-editor of Wharton School Publishing and one of the creators of the We Are Smarter Than Me initiative. “We are helping to cut through the clutter with ideas that are rigorous, timely, easily implemented, and most importantly, are the collective wisdom of an unlimited number of possible contributors.”

About the Wharton School and the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized around the world for its academic strengths across every major discipline and at every level of business education. Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school in the nation, Wharton has approximately 4,600 undergraduate, MBA, and doctoral students, more than 8,000 participants in its executive education programs annually, and an alumni network of more than 80,000 worldwide. http://www.whartonsp.com.

The Wharton School’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management, the first “think tank” for the future of management education, is dedicated to understanding the unfolding global business environment and the education demanded to meet its challenges. The Center sponsors research to identify drivers of change, the forces that will shape the corporation and the requirements for future success. The Center has disseminated its results through publishing and translated its insights into curricular innovations on many levels, from MBAs to senior executives. Overall, the Center helps students and executives prepare today for future success in a rapidly changing world. http://mktg-sun.wharton.upenn.edu/SEI/index.htm

About MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence
The MIT Sloan School of Management, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of the world's leading business schools - conducting cutting-edge research and providing management education to top students from more than 60 countries. The School is part of MIT's rich intellectual tradition of education and research. The mission of the MIT Sloan School of Management is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice.

About Wharton School Publishing and Pearson Education
Wharton School Publishing is dedicated to presenting the world's foremost business thinkers in print, audio and interactive formats. All titles must be approved by a senior Wharton faculty review board to ensure that they are timely, important, conceptually sound, empirically based, and implementable. The editorial focus on applicable knowledge, along with multi-media publishing, enables readers to gain new insights into the issues shaping the future of business, and plan and take action to achieve their goals. Wharton School Publishing is a partnership between Pearson Education, the world's leading education company, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Educating 100 million people worldwide, Pearson Education (http://www.pearsoned.com/) is the global leader in educational publishing, providing research-based print and digital programs to help students of all ages learn at their own pace, in their own way. The company is home to such renowned publishing brands as Pearson Prentice Hall, Pearson Addison Wesley, Pearson Longman, Pearson Allyn & Bacon, Pearson Benjamin Cummings, Pearson Custom Publishing, and others. Pearson Education is part of Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the international media company. In addition to Pearson Education, Pearson's primary operations include the Financial Times Group and the Penguin Group.

About Shared Insights
Shared Insights (http://www.sharedinsights.com/), headquartered in Woburn, MA, is a leading provider of community education, management and ongoing services. Shared Insights' goal is to improve business processes including product innovation, customer self-service and marketing and sales effectiveness. Founded in 2003, the company delivers customer communities and education to leading companies including: WebEx, Deloitte, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Oracle and Adobe.

Peter Himler, Flatiron Communications LLC for Shared Insights, 0-516-365-2408 , m-516-729-6461, peter.himler@gmail.com

Amy Fandrei, Pearson Education, 317-428-3082, amy.fandrei@pearsoned.com

Tracy L. Simon, Wharton School, 215-898-2863/4159, tlsimon@wharton.upenn.edu

Paul Denning, MIT Sloan School of Management, 617-253-0576, denning@mit.edu

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