Task 1 LIS 590
By
Jessica Yonzon
Definitions
 innovation and value creation driven by the masses of
people and firms collaborating openly; a new way of
producing goods and services that harnesses the power of
mass collaboration (Wikinomics – Don Tapscott &
Anthony Williams)
 commons-based peer production: radically decentralized,
collaborative, and nonproprietary production based on
sharing resources and outputs among widely distributed,
loosely connected individuals who cooperate with each
other without relying on either market signals or
managerial commands (Benkler, 2006)
Characteristics of peer production
 Self-organization
 Volunteering (not always)
 Shared outcome/output
 Leadership to integrate community contributions
 Self-selection by contributors themselves based on
interests and expertise efficient at allocating resources
 Low cost of participation (desirable)
 Collective intelligence
 Building a community/ belonging to a community of
shared interests
Models of peer production (Haythornthwaite, 2009):
 Lightweight - large set of contributors; each provides minimal,
rule-based additions to the product as a whole; not designed to
create or maintain relationships among contributors; no need to
make a long-term commitment to the project, the group, or its
members; contributors not expected to play an ongoing role in
determining the course of the enterprise as a whole
 Heavyweight - commitment to maintaining and sustaining the
direction and viability of the community; commitment to the
enterprise as a whole, including internal processes as well as
products, the social and emotional experience of the community,
and its continued existence
 Dual weight – mixture of both lightweight and heavyweight
Benefits of peer production (to firms):
 Use external talent/skills that might not be available
within the company
 Fast-paced upgrades/ rapid diffusion of best-practice
techniques and standards
 Opportunities for auxiliary businesses
 Reduced costs
 Easy collaboration without problems related to
ownerships and IP proprietorships
Pitfalls/ difficulties of peer production:
 Authenticity or reliability of information/ knowledge
 Monitoring inaccuracies
 Making all the disparate contributions work in concert
(for example in the case of OSS)
 Contributions might not be consistent over time and
quality
Fields/ areas where peer production has been used:
(Wikinomics – Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams)
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Software development (OSS)
Scientific Research & Design (Pharmaceuticals)
Games (Second Life)
Design (BMW cars)
News Media/ Entertainment/ Informational sites
Open Access Journals (academic) – reviewed by a greater
proportion of the scientific community (?)
 Industry-University partnerships – transferring
technologies back and forth – example, Intel’s labs at UC
Berkeley, University of Washington in Seattle, Carnegie
Mellon University, and the University of Cambridge (UK)
Fields/areas where peer production has a potential to add value:
(Wikinomics – Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams)
 E-governance – RI’s GovTracker, Scorecard (combines
data from over four hundred scientific and
government databases to profile local environmental
problems and the health effects of toxic chemicals),
Neighborhood Knowledge California
 Producing physical products – Chinese motorcycle
industry, 787 Boeing – many suppliers working
together for design and production
Web sites that are built on or promote peer production:
 Wikipedia – a collaboratively created encyclopedia owned by no one
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and authored by masses
http://www.wikihow.com/Main-Page - a collaboratively created how-to
manual
http://www.shopwiki.com/ - collaboratively created shopping guide
http://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page - collaboratively created travel
guide
Social networking sites – FaceBook, MySpace, Orkut
TakingITGlobal <http://www.tigweb.org/> - online social community
of youth leaders and educators collaborating to address global issues
Human Genome Project, Open Wet Ware
Open Innovation - InnoCentive, NineSigma, InnovationXchange
Network, Eureka Medical, YourEncore, Innovation Relay Centers,
yet2come.com
User-generated news sites - Slashdot, digg, Rabble
Areas that peer production affects and may
eventually change/modify:
 Copyright & Intellectual property –
www.creativecommons.org,
 Existing business model – direct control of assets
 Organizational structure – open peer production
(within and/or outside the company) vs. hierarchical
top-down approach, using external skills rather than
hiring employees
 Labor market will be global – legal issues, taxes, etc.
 Education systems – technology-based, emphasis on
collaboration (?)
New ways of doing business:
(Wikinomics – Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams)
 Auxiliary business supporting free product – example
support/training/consulting for customizing OSS
 Providing platform for consumers to innovate, create –
example SecondLife
 Providing platforms for participation – “mashup
businesses” – example, housingmaps, cheapgas,
Chicagocrime; Amazon, eBay, Google open up their
software services and databases via APIs (application
programming interface) for possible mashup innovations/
co-developments of services
 Rewarding participation to sustain the business – Amazon
developers get sales commissions, SecondLife
References:
 Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks. New
Haven: Yale University Press
 Haythornthwaite, C. (2009). “Crowds and
Communities: Light and Heavyweight Models of Peer
Production”, Proceedings of the Hawaii International
Conference On System Sciences
 Tapscott, D. & A. Williams (2006). Wikinomics: How
Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. New York:
Penguin Group.