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beehive

Who is Powering Your Ideas?

So, who powers your ideas?  In yester years one thought of Inventors and Ideators as lone rangers who transformed their concepts to finished works all by themselves. The facts behind these assumptions have however been questioned. To quote Clay Shirky (Here Comes Every-Body)” We are so natively good at group effort that we often factor groups out of our thinking out of the world. Many jobs that we regard as the province of a single mind actually require a crowd. Michelangelo had assistants paint part of the Sistine chapel ceiling. .. Even writing a book, famously solitary pursuit, involves the work of editors, publishers and designers; getting this particular book into your hands involved additional coordination amongst printers, warehouse managers, truck drivers, and a host of others in the network between me and you. Even if we exclude groups that are just labels for shared characteristics (tall people, red-heads), almost everyone belongs to multiple groups based on family, friends, religious affiliation, on and on”.

Central to enabling Ideas is providing an Architecture of Participation (read Tim O’Reilly). The diversity of aspirations (as demonstrated Clay) lead to convergence of purpose (as we see with examples of the world wide web, linux, and amazon which were driven by passion of individuals to make it happen along with economic incentives in certain cases).

Making Ideas Happen – A Platform for Co-Creation

There have been of late some great initiatives like the TATA-NEN Hottest Start-Ups and Economic Times Power of Ideas, that encouraged ideas from grass root levels to stand up and get counted. In case of the Power of Ideas Initiative, 1000 have made it to the shortlist and over 8000 others who have not.

It’s not enough to create buzz but to ensure that the buzz translates to solutions that can create value and generate wealth. For those that have as well as have not, what is required is a hive for Co-creation. Clay Shirky provides a great analogy – “Though the hive is not part of any individual bee, it is part of the colony; both shaped by and shaping the lives of its inhabitants. The hive is a social device, a piece of bee information technology that provides a platform, literally for the communication and co-ordination that keeps the colony viable. Individual bees can’t be understood separately from the colony or from their shared, co-created environment. So it is with human networks; bees make hives, we make mobile phones”.

Start Doing. By providing a platform for sharing and most importantly executing ideas, we can realize these ideas with the help of a community. PlanetAikon is providing that hive and platform for Ideators and Contributors to come together to realize their ideas. Here you can create your own Idea Spaces, bring in your team, publish your Idea, and get validation from others and mentoring from experts. Using the best of breed Web 2.0 tools on a single platform (instead of having to navigate different platforms), you can collaborate and co-create your solutions. This hive not only creates buzz but helps translate that buzz into action

We are currently offering all of these for FREE, because we sincerely believe the “bee-in-your-bonnet” deserves a shy at your destiny on your own terms.

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dylan_pic_212Musicians are very busy people. Busy because they are creative and it takes a lot of hard work to compose and publish music that their fans listen to. Add to that the endless discussions on patents with lawyers, the award functions to attend to, the distribution and endorsement deals to be signed and the advances to be secured; there is really very little time to listen to what their fans are telling them let alone involve them in co-creating new experiences. That kind of flies in the face of what a musician is supposed to epitomize – connecting with, listening to and drawing inspiration from their paying public.

There is symmetrical irony in the fact that the legacy mindset of the music industry of ownership and control has in fact laid the foundations of “peer-to-peer” music which now threatens the very existence of CD sales. Add to that the fact that except for some discontinuous campaigns against piracy, precious little has been done to involve mainstream listeners in experiences beyond the gigs and ringtone downloads. The “paying” listeners are expected to pay for the gigs and the tracks and that money (or large parts of it) are likely to be used by musicians to be on the top TV Channels – a dichotomy that does not hold up in the halls of reason.

Musicians identify well with record sales and airtime on radio channels. They are yet to learn about rallying the support of communities of music fans who connect with each other based “their” genre of music or “their” favourites, “their” gigs and “their” personalities. These communities create buzz by sharing their own experiences, vote and rate gigs and tracks, create playlists of their favourites and in fact help co-create the brand that musicians seem to find difficult to do, by running after yesterday’s mechanisms.

The fact is that it is the listener who now directs the playlist of her own station. History bears testimony to the fact that no regime that denied participation of customers in any industry has ever lasted, and players who do not view this as “clear and present danger” will sooner or later land up making way for new paradigms that they didn’t see coming (e.g. the demise of proprietary software architectures). There ought to be a smarter way of doing things. Something, that is more “inclusive of” and “rewarding for” the “listeners”.

There could not be a better time than now to for musicians to invest in a proper strategy. A strategy that enables them to find, connect and lead groups of followers by providing a platform for their collaborative experiences. This is obviously not a “knee jerk, back-of-the envelope, let’s do Facebook” plan that happens and then just fizzles out. In fact it was painful to see a leading Indian Band have 286 followers in FB with little or no growth, let alone meaningful conversations, in the last 3 months. It is about defining objectives, articulating viral initiatives and investing in them till results are realized. It is about realigning their initiatives to include others that are more responsive to the current moments of truth. There is huge opportunity in leading the way music is heard, experienced and promoted – by co-opting the experiences of communities.

Now back to the title of this post. I am an ardent listener (read follower) of Bob Dylan. Apart from being one of the most prolific artists of all times, what impresses me most about this forever young poet, singer and musician is the way he uses social media to his and his community’s advantage. Bobdylan.com engrosses you in its magically crafted content (simple yet intriguing), entangles you by rewarding you with a track from his latest album when you sign-up, and finally enmeshes you by allowing you to post your profile, create your playlists and publish your own blogs and create buzz with other Dylan aficionados. Although separated by several thousand miles from where Bob is, I feel a sense of connectedness and involvement. In way I think Bob has answered his own question “How many miles must a man walk down?” .. “The answer is blowin'” … in the Web.

And the Indian Music Industry would do well to listen up, before the Hard Rain starts-a- fallin’.

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R R DASGUPTA (RR)

My conversations here are about Ideas, Entrepreneurs and their moments of truth. It is also about helping build an ecosystem in place of ego-systems, to make our collective journey a more rewarding one. India needs thousands of ideas Do you have an Idea ? Can you be the Change?

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