We Are Smarter Than Me

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Book: We Are Smarter (than Me). Barry Libert and Jon Spector. Wharton School Publishing, 2007.

URL = http://www.wearesmarter.org/

The central premise of We Are Smarter Than Me is that large groups of people ("We") can, and should, take responsibility for traditional business functions that are currently performed by companies, industries and experts ("Me").


Description

"In We Are Smarter than Me (Wharton School Publishing), authors Barry Libert

and Jon Spector -- and a community of more than 4,000 people who contributed

insights to the book -- illustrate how businesses can profit from the wisdom

of crowds. Using case studies from product development, manufacturing,

marketing, customer service, finance and management, the book, whose

subtitle is How to Unleash the Power of Crowds in Your Business, shows what

works, and what doesn't, when managers try to build community into their

decision making.

What do we mean? Let's look at some recent examples:


  • Procter & Gamble is recruiting 600,000 housewives to help market its products through word of mouth. In return for much greater reach and impact, the company is giving up control of the marketing message, relying on its community of customers/marketers to craft their own message in the most appropriate fashion.
  • Microlending websites provide the ability for individuals to lend to small businesses directly. The underwriting decisions (assessing the risk of each loan) are made by individuals, and the price of loan is established through lender bidding. We expect these lending decisions to be superior to the same decisions currently made by experts at banks.
  • Patients faced with rare diseases are increasingly turning to internet discussion groups to learn more about risks and treatment options, and as a result are participating with doctors more actively (in some cases much more actively) in decisions regarding their care."


Challenges and Questions

Challenge 1: Can A Community Write A Book? How do we define the overall theme? How will the book be organized?

Challenge 2: How Can Communities Research? How should we use community to define new products, ideas and processes?

Challenge 3: How Will Communities Develop Products? Can communities drive product innovation and manufacturing?

Challenge 4: How Will Community Affect Marketing Strategy?

Challenge 5: Will Communities Determine Price Points? How will the way businesses price their products change as they receive input from communities?

Challenge 6: How Will Communities Change Sales? Will traditional sales functions change as businesses leverage communities?

Challenge 7: How Does Community Change Distribution Channels? What new channels are opened? How are traditional distribution funtions altered?

Challenge 8: How Do Communities Offer Customer Service? How can a community service itself and how does that benefit both the business and the customer?

Challenge 9: How Do Communities Affect Finance? How can communities generate their own finances? How can traditional financing be done using a community model?

Challenge 10: Can Communities Effectively manage themselves? Can traditional management functions be replaced using a community model. Can managers use community concepts to enhance their capacity to manage well?

Challenge 11: How Do Communities Train Themselves? How can communities offer the fertile ground for learning and teaching?

Challenge 12: How Do Communities Govern Themselves? How can communities come together for collective decision-making? Can Communities define effective decision making processes?

Challenge 13: How Do Communities Develop And Maintain The Technologies? What does it take for communities to maintain and innovate on open source platforms?


Challenge 14: What is the currency of community? Is it necessary to develop a community specific currency?

Challenge 15: What Social behaviors do we need to foster in order to achieve vibrant community interaction? Why do people join communities? Why do we stay? Whay do we share?

Challenge 16: How do we go about creating communities? What are the best practices? What tools do we need? Who can help us?

Challenge 17: How do we overcome the selfishness trait? How can we best show the value of contributing to a community? Is it true that you only get out what you put in?


Table of Contents

The chapters correspond to the challenges listed above.


Chapter 1: We Can Do It

Chapter 2: We Can Research It

Chapter 3: We Can Make It

Chapter 4: We Can Market It

Chapter 5: We Can Put a Price On It

Chapter 6: We Can Sell It

Chapter 7: We Can Distribute It

Chapter 8: We Can Service Ourselves

Chapter 9: We Can Finance It

Chapter 10: We Can Manage Ourselves

Chapter 11: We Can Train Ourselves

Chapter 12: We Can Govern Ourselves

Chapter 13: We Can Develop the Technologies

Chapter 14: We Can Design Our Community Currency

New Chapter: Social behaviour behind communities

Suggested Chapter: We can do It, but how?

Why Should I chapter?


Examples

BrewTopia (from Chapter 2)