Collaboration, Innovation, and Value Creation: The Case of Wikimedia’s Emergence as the Center for Collaborative Content

Collaboration, Innovation, and Value Creation: The Case of Wikimedia’s Emergence as the Center for Collaborative Content

Divakaran Liginlal (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), Lara Khansa (Virginia Polytechnic and State University, USA) and Jeffrey P. Landry (University of South Alabama, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-609-4.ch010

Abstract

This chapter describes the entrepreneurial vision and business model of Wikimedia, particularly the successes and challenges of its innovations, the wiki and Wikipedia. The case study first traces the history of how Wikimedia was founded, as such providing a rich descriptive background, using information obtained from scholarly news sources and websites. This historical overview is followed by a description of Wikimedia’s business model, including the sources of capital and flows of revenues. The business model is then compared and contrasted to other Internet business models such as Knol, Google’s open encyclopedia. This is followed by a discussion of a balanced scorecard to analyze how the wiki business model generates value. Finally, the case explores the use of Wikipedia from a societal and ethical perspective and provides an illustrative example of its use for collaborative work in a funded academic research project.
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The Wiki Model: Innovation Through Collaboration

The Wikimedia Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging the growth, development, and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of wiki-based projects to the public free of charge. It developed the Wiki—the Hawaiian word for “quick” and the acronym “what I know is” to be easily and quickly learned and used (Wikipedia, 2009a; Survey: New Media, 2006; Kirschner, 2006). It enables a group or larger community of participants to post, edit, and structure a variety of information and knowledge on the Web. Rather than using an editorial staff of researchers and writers, Wikipedia allows its content to be driven by a global network of communities of volunteer contributors. The organization, based in San Francisco, California, is managed by just over 20 paid staff. They maintain the technical infrastructure, software, and servers that allow millions of people to collaborate for knowledge creation.

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