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“Age of networked intelligence” will drive change for media, EuroSummit attendees hear

Don Tapscott

Don Tapscott

The emerging “age of networked intelligence” means that all organisations – including media – will have to embrace radical change, according to Don Tapscott, author, Wikinomics and Macrowikinomics and Grown up Digital.

Speaking at the CTAM Europe EuroSummit this morning, Tapscott identified seven new ideas that could enable media and other organisations to evolve and survive an era of profound change.

First, ‘peer production’ is now emerging, said Tapscott, citing the example of his own Innovators Daily, where the Tweets of innovators got turned into articles for the website. Crowdfunding and collaboration with peers can drive chagne.

‘Ideagoras’, Tapscott’s second idea, is based on the idea that organsiations can tap into a much wider community of experts through tools like Inno360. Communities on the internet could build platforms for them.

‘Prosumers’ means turning your consumers into your producers. “Maybe your customers can be inside your business network,” said Tapscott. TV is becoming interactive and content is emerging that is created by groups of individual consumers. Individuals can also create their own movies using open source software.

‘New Alexandrians’ is based on the notion that sharing and re-thinking intellectual property will be necessary. Tapscott cited the example of Linux. “Sharing is not communist, it is capitalism in its smartest form for the 21st century,” he said. The music industry had shown itself the worst at adapting to this idea, by legally prosecuting individuals who may have helped expand their market.

‘Platforms for participation’ means opening up the APIs of any business to enable co-creation of value. “That’s why Android will win out over Apple,” said Tapscott.

‘The global plant floor’ enables peer production of any product. Finally, ‘the Wiki Workplace’ means the creation of free social interaction to drive value – for example by delivering data.

The world is entering an age when billions of things are connected via the internet, said Tapscott.

Broadband is becoming mobile and is being brought to consumers by new providers including Google.

“Smartphones are outselling traditional phones everywhere,” he said. Other developments, such as the emergence of the internet as a platform for “computation rather than presentation”, enabling people to collaborate and co-create content, are accelerating.

Another macro-development is demographic change and the emergence of the “digital native” generation.

Tapscott said that time online for teenagers today was being taken away from television viewing. “They may turn on the TV but they are turning on their laptop and iTunes…the TV may be on but it’s like Muzak,” he said. This generation would create a “social revolution”.

Additionally, new models of citizen engatment are emerging, said Tapscott, citing the examples of Barack Obama’s use of the internet to mobilise support and the Arab Spring.

Tapscott said these developments were leading to a new industrial revolution where transaction and collaboration costs are dropping so much that peers can now come together and create.

Tapscott said that the internet had radically reduced transaction costs, as he argued in Wikinomics. He said that he challenged the view of economist Paul Krugman that the impact of the 2008 financial crisis was however still being felt, and likely would be for decades to come.

“This is not a cyclical change; it’s a secular change,” said Tapscott. The structure of global capitalism is going through a period of radical change, he said. All institutions, including government, the media and education are being challenged by new technologies, he said.