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Community Spirit

How businesses are letting web users have their say.

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This story appears in the March 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

You probably know that the Linux operating system was created by a worldwide network of programmers who collaborated via the internet. Wikipedia is collectively authored. But did you know that Boeing, BMW and Procter & Gamble have also harnessed the web's collaborative power to design products and services--and that many businesses are doing the same?

These revelations are among many in Wikinomics: How Collaboration Changes Everything, by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams. Tapscott, a University of Toronto professor and author of 11 books, including Paradigm Shift and The Digital Economy, examined wikis, blogs, chat rooms, peer-to-peer networks, personal broadcasting and other elements of Web 2.0. He concludes that an enormous change is occurring that challenges fundamental business organization.

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