Clay Shirky, a leading voice on the social and economic effects of internet technologies, discusses the power of collaboration and its disruptive impact on businesses. Shirky believes that the internet’s ability to foster widespread collaboration presents new organisational models that challenge traditional hierarchies and methods of production.

Shirky notes the shift from institutional to collaborative models in various sectors. He cites the example of Ushahidi, a crowdsourced crisis-mapping tool, as a demonstration of how collaborative models can outperform institutional ones.

Shirky also highlights the role of social media in mobilising collective action, referencing the 2011 Egyptian revolution. He argues that social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, have transformed the dynamics of group formation, providing tools that enable faster and broader mobilisation.

Discussing the implications for businesses, Shirky suggests that companies should treat collaborative models as an opportunity rather than a threat. He encourages businesses to experiment with these models, integrating them into their existing operations.

Shirky concludes by emphasising the importance of adapting to the changing landscape, noting that the disruptive power of collaboration is not a temporary phenomenon, but a fundamental shift in the way we organise and produce.

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