Keynote: Don Tapscott – Wikinomics

“Wikinomics” is up for a Pulitzer Prize for Business literature.

How are youngsters changing the way we think about talent? Training, retention, collaboration and managing them? Within this new culture, there is a new culture of work and therein will lie the answers of how to accomplish this.

Myspace has 220 million members, growing at 2 million members a week. 85% of all college students are on Facebook (700,000 in Toronto alone). But this is no longer about getting online — this is now about a new mode of production. Web 2.0 is a change in the way we innovate the structure and architecture of an organization. It’s changing learning in many ways, driven by economic, social and demographic factors.

Tapscott worked with a group of 300 kids; found out they have no fear of technology. They’re not thinking about the technology — they’re thinking about what they’re using it for — the content, be it a live chat with their friend(s), downloading from iTunes, looking through the Hubble telescope. We focus on how amazing it is that technology enables this… they’re thinking about how cool Mars is.

The population is biforcating. There’s a huge wave of youngsters (biggest in other parts of the world) under 28 and they’re entering the workforce. Meanwhile, we talk about cutting funding for education and there’s more kids under 28 than there ever were Baby Boomers.

If you look at the map of kids under the age of 15, India and China dwarf the rest of the world. And Asia as a whole is way more wired than the US and Western Europe.

Kids are growing up bathed in digital. They watch less TV than the Boomers. They telescope online, chatting, IM’ing AND doing their homework on the computer when they get home from school. They think differently. Brain development between 8 and 18 years is affected by the change from being hooked on video. Kids are now authorities on the massive changes in government, economics, trends, ideology — because they’re more connected. Kids are lapping their parents on the information track.

> “Kids look at Email as a formal technology, like for thank-you letters and official communications.”

How these kids are different:

* They want freedom of choice
* They want freedom of mobility
* They are better scrutinizers
* They have integrity and expect integrity

> “The Daily Show isn’t funny… unless you know the news”

* They need to be entertained (which is blended in with learning, collaboration and “work”)
* They want speed, not immediate gratification. They can’t stand useless bureaucracy.
* They flock to innovation

This leads to Talent 2.0 — the kids got it right. Paradigms put boundaries around things — based on assumptions that are so strong that you don’t think about them. Peter Sengey was right in that the person at the top can’t learn for the organization as a whole.

And… it turns out that I’m one of three people in the entire audience blogging this by show of hands. Nice.

Tapscott just stated that the Gen X’ers are having more problems adapting to these changes than the Boomers, because the Boomers have kids and understand better how to talk to them.

> *Opinion: I call bulls__t, but I agree with everything else Tapscott is saying, so I’ll investigate further at his follow-up session.*

The new web is dropping collaboration costs (the technology is just better), so peers can now come together and create value. Marketocracy is a peer-to-peer mutual fund with picks selected by the network. Wikipedia puts out encyclopedic information that rivals Britannica. Zopa allows people to borrow money from other people without the need for banks. Linux is the dominant operating system in the world, and it’s not “owned” by anyone.