Charles Leadbeater is developing a book on collaboration, collaboratively - so who better to offer some opening philosophy on RSA Networks day? Charles explained that the book is called We-think ... emphasising "we think therefore we are" rather than the more familiar "I think..."
People are contributing ideas and comments, Charles is re-drafting, and the whole enterprise is due for publication in 2008.
However, Charles warned us against believing that collaboration can be wholly a bottom-up,self-organising process. Large projects need a core of people at the heart, with development processes broken into smaller parts that people could work on. It was, he said, a bit like putting together a lot of Lego bricks.
You also need a governance structure, said Charles. He quoted Jimmy Wales, the founder of the Wikipedia,which is written by thousands of contributors, as follows.
Wikipedia is one part anarchy - in that anyone can contribute. It is one part democracy - when there is a dispute, people vote on it; one part meritocracy, because the best ideas win out; one part aristocracy because the people who have been around longest count for more; and one part monarchy - it's me.