We-think

The Power of Mass Creativity

Published in: GIA Reader, Vol 19, No 3 (Fall 2008)

Charles Leadbeater

2008, 256 pages. Published by Profile Books Ltd.

We-think seeks to explore the ways that the Web is changing our world, creating a culture in which more people than ever can participate, collaborate, and share ideas and information. Leadbeater argues that society is no longer based not on mass consumption but on mass participation—as is demonstrated in phenomena from Wikipedia, YouTube and Craigslist to new forms of scientific research and political campaigning. We-think is about what the rise of these phenomena (not all to do with the Internet, necessarily) means for the way we organize ourselves—not just in digital businesses, but in schools, hospitals, cities, and corporations. The author points to the industrial-era economy as mass production for mass consumption, the formula created by Henry Ford, and contrasts that with a new economy in which people want to be players, not spectators. This is a huge cultural shift, for in this new economy people aren't looking for services and goods delivered to them, but tools so they can take part.