Wikinomics is a term that describes the effects of extensive collaboration and user-participation on the marketplace and corporate world. Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams popularized the term in their book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything , published in December 2006. The word itself is constructed from wiki (a server program that allows users to collaborate on a Web site) and economics.

According to Tapscott and Williams, these four principles are the central concepts of wikinomics in the enterprise:

  • Openness, which includes not only open standards and content but also financial transparency and an open attitude towards external ideas and resources
  • Peering, which replaces hierarchical models with a more collaborative forum. Tapscott and Williams cite the development of Linux as the "quintessential example of peering."
  • Sharing, which is a less proprietary approach to (among other things) products, intellectual property, bandwidth, scientific knowledge
  • Acting globally, which involves embracing globalization and ignoring "physical and geographical boundaries" at both the corporate and individual level.


Although wikinomics is, essentially, a Web 2.0 phenomenon, the authors insist that wikinomics' reach extends beyond to the broader culture: "This is more than open source , social networking , so-called crowdsourcing , smart mobs, crowd wisdom, or other ideas that touch upon the subject. Rather we are talking about deep change in the structure and modus operandi of the corporation and our economy, based on new competitive principles such as openness, peering, sharing and acting globally."

The last chapter of Wikinomics contains just 15 words: "Join us in peer producing the definitive guide to the twenty-first-century corporation on www.wikinomics.com." Tapscott and Williams have established a wiki where readers can write and edit the content of their book's last chapter.

This was last updated in May 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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