Clay Shirky @ THNK

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At THNK forum again today, this time we have Clay Shirky, He is beaming in from New York via telepresence, no he’s not live, but he is on a huge screen and he’s here for us. As close to live as we can get today. If you don’t know Clay’s work, check here. Clay is also on the board of Ushahidi. He is THE authority on cognitive surplus and all things crowd sourcing.

HereComesEverybodyCover

FIrst a brief summary of Clay’s Why are those people working for free?
Answer: because they feel like they’re having fun.
So if you want folk to contribute to your effort, don’t see them as unpaid labor, put yourself in their shoes, ask yourself what’s in it for them. So if you’re envisaging a crowd sourcing community project, something that is an absolute necessary, that you have to have in place: People have to have positive normative values associated with your project. And the community needs to do one of these 3 things for people who take part, they are:

  • Autonomous – I have an influence
  • Competent – I’m good at this
  • Social – I’m a member of a group

Ellen Jorgenson is up with the first question, turns out she knows Clay already, New yorkers🙂 She wants to know in how far he would envisage that an online version of her lab Genspace is a possibility. He explains how we can concept the trade off between travel and communication. And says his conclusion is that you shouldn’t collaborate as partners on any serious endeavor without having breathed the same air. He advises Ellen not to set up a Genspace elsewhere with partners, without first sitting down together with those partners.

Turns out thanks to Jillian York for connecting THNK to Clay.

Next up Itai Talmi, he is making a mobile platform for people to co-create, go through a full design cycle in fact, and then gamified and his question is  will this be enough shared value, the will to create? And does Clay think? Clay runs off and draws a pyramid for us, and refers to …… he says about 1% of users will jump in wholesale, and then about another 9% will comment and then the other 90% will just listen in or lurk. If the platform doesn’t produce a way to watch, it won’t fly, because you need to recruit from the other 99% to get them active. Clay’s advise, prototype and user test a version which has no gamification to find out if there is intrinsic value beyond the game elements. Otherwise you might end up with Farmville for creativity.

jake-mckee

Karim pick up on this, Is a lurker a participant?
Clay: Yes!
1. they are your recruiting pool and
2. the lurkers provide validation to the actives and lurkers provide – via data analysis – they provide enormous feedback to your product.

Kaz Brecher has a question, her project is Curious Catalyst she’s working on mega cities issues with an agile methodology and she struggles with the wording and sharing her plans with people, when the words she is using are key but now well known.  Clay loves the question as it’s one he struggled with himself. He has a couple of tips;
1. Even if your’e an excited New Yorker, you have to learn to speak slowly
2. Use a story, an example
3. Begin with here’s why this works
For example: If you and I working together could get fewer potholes on the street! would you join.

Nick Graham has a question on how to motivate / engage people for neighborhood issues.
Clay: You can think of people in one of three categories, naive economists, naive politicians or naive theologians.
Motivation:
Naive economists – if we work together we will both benefit
Naive theologians: Its’ the right thing to do even if we fail.

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THNK participants listening to Clay

And in general: Clay says:
Every social network started good and small and grew, you don’t start big and mediocre! No-one gets up to spend the day wasting their time on an awful platform. The first group you recruit is wildy important.

As a final advise in answer to Ben Keenes question, presumably in relation to his work creating eco-tourist islands,
How do you not get demotivated, when a lot of people don’t seem to care.
Clay: Work for those who do care, even if it’s a small group. 

And now we get to do Wok+Wine with Peter Mandeno, Yay!

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