“The spread of the web invites us to look at the future from a different vantage point, to see that what we share is at least as important as what we own; what we hold in common is as important as what we keep for ourselves; what we choose to give away may matter more than what we charge for. In the economy of things you are identified by what you own: your land, house, car. In the economy of ideas that the web is creating, you are what you share: who you are linked to, who you network with and which ideas, pictures, videos, links, comments you share. The biggest change the web will have on us is to allow us to share with one another in new ways and particularly to share ideas. That matters because the more ideas are shared the more they breed, mutate and multiply, and that process is the ultimate source of our creativity, innovation and well being.” reads the first chapter of “We think” by Charlie Leadbeater.

As the ICT-KM program continues to develop I cannot help thinking of how this philosophy, this new thinking resonates with the principles of our program: Collaborate, Create, Communicate.

We believe that sharing is a potent platform for innovation and creativity. Reading the book you will see how the 600,000 players in the computer game “I Love Bees” showed that a mass of independent people, with different information, skills and outlooks, working together in the right way, can discover, analyse, coordinate, create and innovate together at scale without much by way of a traditional organisation. Imagine this power applied to agriculture research.

But sharing also brings dilemmas: ownership, rights, privacy, resistance to change…

Apply this to our work and I believe that managing the balance between the rising surge of mass collaboration and the attempts to retain control will be one of the defining areas of work of the ICT-KM program in the CGIAR.

Thanks to Peter Ballantyne for pointing this book to us!