The Triumph of the Co-words

Screen Shot 2013-06-10 at 15.45.39 What made Le Web for me this year was @airbnb CEO @jgebbia’s advice to entrepreneurs: “ you have to marry the problem you are trying to solve and you’ll be able to find the solution”.

The problem for us communicators these days is integrating digital co-creation and collaboration into internal comms.

The task is not easy but help is on the way, as I discovered from Jeremiah Owyang’s presentation on the sharing economy, the topic of this year’s #leweblondon.

According to a study recently conducted by @jowyang on behalf of @altimetergroup, “sharing is happening today with greater speed than ever before”.

He mentioned the example of platforms like @Taskrabbit, which enables people to tap into talent without having to use recruitment agencies. Thanks to @LiquidSpace, businesses that are growing no longer need to use traditional real estate brokers, instead they can tap into companies that have excess inventory and use their office space. @airbnb gives business travellers the option to stay at somebody’s home instead of checking into a Hyatt or Marriott. “Society is changing. We are starting to amplify with scale and velocity its desire to share”.

We are witnessing the birth of a new business model, one that is ruled by co-words like co-ideate, co-build and co-market. In this disruptive eco-system, it will no longer be possible to tell the difference between customers and employees. @jowyang mentioned the example of Nike, which is now allowing customers to co-design their shoes.

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 13.39.56The crowd is becoming the company… which is good news for internal communicators. The fact that the market is pushing corporations to trust networks of consumers and share business processes  (like the development of a product) is likely to convince senior management of the fact that the same sharing needs to happen internally between employees at all levels. @jowyang believes that “it’s only by letting go that companies can gain more”. And an important part of that letting go is about enabling employees to co-create messages via digital channels.

It was fascinating to hear @johnbattelle, who helped launch Wired magazine in the 1990s, say that “we are in the process of making everything physical a liquid asset” that can be shared online. “By sharing cars, we make cars liquid. By sharing friends, we make our connections liquid.”

The point made by Le Web is that the collaborative economy is for real and it’s happening faster than the corporate world would like to think. In the words of @jowyang, “a big leap of faith” is required. That’s where communicators can help.





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