Why the Crowd has no Wisdom

Peter Jones Dialogic Design, Information Ecology

Before I even got this post out of the box, the thesis was pushed into international publication by the Boston Globe’s Alex Beam : Alex takes Wikipedia to task, for good reason, but then ties it back to the problem – we are trusting in the wisdom of crowds when we have no evidence that crowds are “wise.” They are not even smart. In fact, my mother thought pretty low of the crowd. Given the Internet Age, we have elevated busy bloggers to philosopher king status now. Beam reminds in My Sticky Wiki how lucky we are Wikipedia works at all. Given his (and my) recent experiences:: “Wikipedia has had plenty of bad publicity lately. Allow me to bring you up to date. Last month, Middlebury College’s history department banned the use of Wikipedia citations in exams or papers, because an error about Japanese history — since corrected — showed …

A Tail of Two Cities

Peter Jones Wu Wei

I’ve just returned from 2 conferences back-t0-back (I don’t recommend it), and the difference between the two venues is almost unthinkable. First Bowling Green, Ohio for the Nexus for Change – followed immediately by the Information Architecture Summit in Las Vegas. Even though the 2 conferences also hosted two very different crowds, one other colleague attended both, Keith Instone.  The mega-hotels of Vegas were all 95% sold out, yet I didn’t see anything there for me to do. Bowling Green is one of those old Midwest small towns built around a state school, removed from the hustle of real life so that students can learn in relative isolation. As far as cultural experience, Vegas is the main trend, BG is way out in the tail. Neither of these uniquely American extremes of place offered any cultural interest or hope for future renewal. Both were depressing, in very different ways. But …

Nielsen’s Hot Top-10 list

Peter Jones Information Ecology, Innovation

Nielsen posts another Top-10, hitting the mark on designing for business needs and e-Commerce sites. This time, a neat summary of the Top 10 High ROI priorities for website redesign. 10 High-Profit Redesign Priorities “I often write about the top mistakes in Web design, but what are the top things you can do to make more money? Following here are 10 Internet tactics with a particularly high return on investment (ROI).” These include: 1. Email Newsletters 2. Informative Product Pages 3. High-Quality Photography 4. Product Differentiation and Comparisons 5. Support for Reordering 6. Simplified Text 7. Catering to Seniors 8. Gift-Giving Support 9. Search 10. User Testing Of these, I’ve bolded the ones that I’ve seen the most need for in professional services domains. Factors like high-quality photography should be a given for a professionally-designed site. And User Testing is a Nielsen high-profit item, not a website high-profit factor. More …

The Purpose of Purpose

Peter Jones Human Values

Harvard Business School professor Jim Heskett asks: Is There Too Little “Know Why” in Business? In a commentary-inquiry piece on the HBS Working Knowledge site, a dialogue asks how purpose is recognized and leveraged as a motivator in business. Heskett questions whether executives really know understand the impact of leading by purpose, and notes the paucity of examples of large companies that truly lead by purpose, such as the perennial reference to Anita Roddick and The Body Shop. Two recent books offer views of the roles of managers and leaders. The first, Know-How, by Ram Charan, sets forth eight behaviors exhibited by managers who get things done. The second, Purpose, by Nikos Mourkogiannis, could really have been titled “Know Why.” It describes four kinds of purpose, “starting points” that govern what great companies do and how they do it. Each of these purposes represents a kind of “holy grail” as …