Society is based not on mass consumption now but on mass, innovative participation – as is clear in phenomena from Wikipedia, Youtube and Craigslist to new forms of scientific research and political campaigning. This new mode of ‘We-think’ is reshaping the way we work, play and communicate.
“We-think” is about what the rise of these phenomena (not all to do with the internet) means for the way we organise ourselves – not just in digital businesses but in schools and hospitals, cities and mainstream corporations. For the point of the industrial era economy was mass production for mass consumption, the formula created by Henry Ford; but these new forms of mass, creative collaboration announce the arrival of a new kind of society, in which people want to be players, not spectators.
This is a huge cultural shift, for in this new economy people want not services and goods, delivered to them, but tools so they can take part. In “We-think” Charles Leadbeater analyses not only these changes, but how they will affect us and how we can make the most of them.
Just as, in the 1980s, his “In Search of Work” predicted the rise of more flexible employment, here he outlines a crucial shift that is already affecting all of us.
The book was partly written online and incorporates readers’ comments on a draft released on the web in late 2006.