Archive for the ‘crowd-sourcing’ Category

We dance

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

I love Joseph Campbell, the great American writer and mythologist. We will leave for another day what myths and comparative religion have to do with co-creation, but for now, let me focus on one of the stories he told (he was an amazing story-teller). The book Power of Myth, also the object of a well-known public television series, is an account of the dialogue between Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers. In the introduction to the book, Moyers recalls Campbell telling of an American delegate at an international conference on religion, trying to figure out what a Japanse Shinto priest was about.

“We’ve been now to a good many ceremonies and have seen quite a few of your shrines. But I don’t get your ideology. I don’t get your theology.’ The Japanese paused as though in deep thought, and then slowly shook his head. ‘I think we don’t have ideology,’ he said. ‘We don’t have theology. We dance.”

Joseph Campbell’s constant encouragement to experience life rather than theoretize about it is also a great prescription for co-creation. When people probingly ask me to justify why co-creation is different from, say, collaboration, crowd-sourcing, Wikinomics, or open innovation, I know they’re negotiating with me (and probably with themselves) for the right not to try any of them. Of course, my duty as a lecturer and consultant is to patiently walk through the similarities and differences, but I know the dialogue will ultimately be pointless.

Conversely, when I see a little light in someone’s eyes, I know I’m invited to dance. We take a few steps. I can sense when the questions are aimed at discovery rather than evaluation. I become less guarded in my answers. She’s really an interesting person. I’m making up new stuff now. Others are watching us. They sense the energy. They join us in the dance. These people are amazing. Where are these thoughts coming from?

As in Joseph Campbell’s story, I’m not sure co-creation has an ideology. We dance.