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News Alert: Collaboration, Competition and Crowdsourcing

Submitted by: Natalia Castaneda on Oct 8th, 2009 at 2PM PDT

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Top Trends:
On Collaboration and Competition

  • A discussion about collaboration versus competition has emerged, prompted by the relationship between ‘Social Actions’ and ‘All for Good’, both “open source databases that help people find and share opportunities to make a difference.”  Social Actions is a grassroots, non-profit organization while All for Good is inspired by Obama’s call for action; there has been speculation that the two will compete for volunteers.  If encouraging the highest number of people possible to serve is the goal, then the debate is over whether competition or collaboration between the two organizations will inspire more people to volunteer. 
  • Dan Woods of presents his view on crowdsourcing and collaborative innovation: he believes it is a myth.  He believes it is not crowds that innovate, but individuals.  We need to “nurture and fund inventors and give them time to explore, play and fail,” he says, the key being that we need to identify and support individuals to innovate  rather than trust groups to take over the job.  Competition also plays a role in the individual triumphing over the group.
  • We think of wikis as being a good example of collaboration at its best, but many times people support the idea of wikis without contributing to the wikis themselves.  Harvard Business Publishing publishes an article about how often organizations and individuals become frustrated by the lack of community participation on wiki pages.  It is not the format or the idea of wikis and collaboration, however, which is the problem but the fact that people have not adapted wiki principles.  People still follow traditional approaches involving intensive editing and research before posting anything; instead they should “1)Act first, think later, 2) be human and 3)fail early and often.”

On Impact Investing

  • Two weeks ago the Global Impact Investing Network was launched, an initiative driven by “the shared conviction that creative investments can play a crucial part in addressing social and environmental challenges.”  What makes GIIN unique is that it pulls together social entrepreneurship, corporate social responsibility, social markets and other socially driven, for-profit projects into a single sector.  It is supported by Bill Clinton, JPMorgan, Al Gore, Bill Gates and other well-known philanthropists.

On Grassroots Organizations and Volunteering

  • IISC Blog publishes a post about the value of grassroots organizations.  It poses the question ‘What if we really truly believed that the grasstops are only as good as the roots, that grassroots communities are where the real action is in our country?’
  • It seems that a bad economy encourages more people to volunteer.  One reason is that more people are unemployed and, when they cannot find paid work, they turn to volunteerism.  Another reason is that if people cannot be as generous with their money, but still want to do something to help people, they volunteer their time.

Top Articles:

Competition or Collaboration?
Author: Peter Deitz
Date: June 2009
Source: Social Edge Blog
The Myth of Crowdsourcing
Author: Dan Woods
Date: September 29, 2009
Can an Online Community Shape a Strategy?
Author: Barry Newstead
Date: October 5, 2009
Source: Harvard Business Publishing
The impact investing world
Author: Mobius Strip, Ramesh Ramanathan
Date: October 7, 2009
Roots Rising…
Date: October 8, 2009
Source: IISC Bloc
Hard times are good for philanthropy
Author: Andrea Ball
Date: October 8, 2009