Cognitive Surplus as Innovation Key

Several of the projects we work on with our team at imply change. The real difficulty is when we have to deal with systems and organizations that are often trapped by rules, both contractual or cultural that don’t leave space for innovation or paradoxically force innovation to adapt to old paths and 20th century structures. I’m not here to whine about it, in the end this is often a reality that consultants, including myself, are used to dealing with. What I would actually like to do is drive your attention to this TED video by Clay Shirky on how cognitive surplus could change the world.

Have a look at the video and check the notes I shared below…

Here are some of the points that I found interesting:

– Cognitive surplus = free time & talents (motivation/generosity) + consumer & share (tools/tech)
What happens with cognitive surplus? Human motivation and modern tools allowing that motivation to be joined up in large scale efforts.
– Social vs contractual motivation. In the 20th century we thought that the lack of contract would let people operate without any constraints… unfortunately this is not true. They operate with social constraints instead of contractual ones.
The advantage of social constraints is that they construct a culture that is more generous than the contractual constraints do. On the other hand what’s broken by contractual constraints stays broken, and this condition can persist over long time periods.
– So the trick is in understanding where we are laying on the economic side and where on the social side.
– Communal vs Civic value
Communal value: created by the participants for each other. We find it everywhere we have large amounts of public data available online (photos on flickr, videos on youtube, etc.).
Civic value: created by the participants but enjoyed by the society. Goals are not just set up to make life better for the participants, but to make life better for everyone in the society in which the system is operating. This is not just a side effect of opening up to human motivation, it’s going to be a side effect of what we collectively make of the concept.
– Long story short: people have a lot of free time, and they can do better when not trapped by contractual constraints. So organizations designed around the culture of generosity will be able to achieve incredible effects without an enormous amount of contractual overhead.
– The key: Support people who are trying to use cognitive surplus to create civic value. By doing that we’ll be able to change society.

Thoughts? Share them here on the blog or via twitter @vascellari.


The Best of PR, Marketing and Social Media – NEXT 2010

Episode: VMC #224 The Best of PR, Marketing and Social Media – NEXT 2010

This year I was invited again to NEXT, but this time instead of keeping you informed with the classic video updates from the venue, I wanted to try something different. So once I got the go from the great Martin Recke (Head of Conference Management) I got the juice out of the best keynotes on PR, marketing, social media and I condensed it into this video. Then if you are interested (and you have enough time) you can have a look at the entire presentations on sevenload.

Why this video? The reason is simple, people have no time. So I thought to share the best communications content ‘in pills’.

It took me a while to create this video but it’s finally done and I really hope you’ll find it valuable. Also, let me know what you think about this new video format directly here on my blog or via twitter @vascellari (just remember to link back to this post so we can track the feedback and conversation, thanks!).


Subscribe to on YouTube!

Show Notes & Credits: Next Conference, Martin ReckeBrian Solis, Stefana Broadbant, Stowe Boyd, Andrew Keen, Matthias Lüfkens, Steve Rubel.