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Yochai Benkler

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Yochai Benkler

Peer production is the most significant organizational innovation that has emerged from Internet-mediated social practice. Organizationally, it combines three core characteristics: (1) decentralization of conception and execution of problems and solutions, (2) harnessing diverse motivations, and (3) separation of governance and management from property and contract. Functionally, these components make peer-production practices highly adept at learning and experimentation, innovation, and adaptation in rapidly changing, persistently uncertain and complex environments. Under high rates of technological innovation, and the high diversity of sources of uncertainty typical of early twenty-first-century global markets, the functional advantages of peer production have made it an effective organizational model in diverse domains. From free software, through Wikipedia to video journalism, peer production plays a more significant role in the information production environment than predicted by standard models at the turn of the millennium.