I am Charlie Leadbeater and I am often not quite sure what I do. I used to be a journalist - on the Financial Times and The Independent. In June 1996 I decided to scrap a career in journalism and instead start working for myself, trying to develop ideas and research issues that were of interest to me. At the time of writing - November 2006 - I am an independent author, advisor and strategy consultant to governments, companies and social enterprises. I am a visiting senior fellow at the UK National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, a research associate with Demos, the London think tank, a visiting fellow at the Oxford University Business School and author of several books including The Rise of the Social Entrepreneur, Living on Thin Air and The Pro-Am Revolution.
This wiki is intended to promote discussion of the rise of mass, collaborative creativity, of which Wikipedia itself is a prime example. And it is intended to start a process of collaborative writing and editing of a book: We-think: the power of mass creativity.
To get the discussion going I offer the draft text of We-think:
My argument is that creativity is invariably collaborative and that opportunities for largely self-organising creative collaboration are going up the whole time. So I decided to apply that thinking to this book.
I have two main aims. I hope that by opening the book up to readers’ comments before it hits the bookshops we can make it a better book. When you write a book you gets lots of comments from people after it is published, by which time it’s too late to do too much. So it may be that readers will see errors, omissions or additions that could be made to my basic text. My plan is that when the book is formally published in hardback in June 2007 it will have been written by me and scores of other people who have contributed to it and improved.
But far more importantly by making the majority of the text available in this form I hope people will download it, print it, and share it. It's just an easy way of getting the ideas out into the world. The more people who talk about the ideas, the better. As I was writing the text I came to see the point of Cory Doctorow's comment that books are really becoming practices rather than texts. What that means for me is that the point of the book is to provoke a conversation about the emerging opportunities for us to organise ourselves in ways that are more collaborative and creative. The formal publication of the book next year is just one focus for that conversation. This wiki, the text on my own website and the conversations other people start are just as much part of it.