In search of Leadership 2.0

Update (November 2009): Monkeys with Typewriters – the end result of my Leadership 2.0 project, is available now.

Thank you to everyone who’s shown an interest in the book I’ve been working on. The book, due to be published by Triarchy Press in Autumn 2009, will be based on interviews with 50 leading practitioners and thinkers in the Web 2.0/ social media space.

You can see it taking shape right here on the blog as the interviews are written up.

When people ask what the book’s actually about, it’s a slightly different answer every time. In Search of Leadership 2.0 is the working title (plenty of wise people have advised me not to use ‘2.0’ but it’s useful for now in that everyone seems to understand, or at least have a feel for, what this meme means).

The outline is changing and morphing a bit, too, but I’m posting my original proposal here (submitted August 2007) so you can get a flavour for where I’m going:

Title: In Search of Leadership 2.0


As the world wide web matures and moves towards a more participative model, so 21st century businesses are realising that ego-centric, command-and-control type structures no longer apply in a diversified, global marketplace. In the new knowledge economy, the leader who can most effectively harness the combined wisdom of his workforce will win. Collaboration and sharing will replace petty feifdoms and “jobsworth” mentalities. Welcome to Leadership 2.0.

This book will build on the seminal work of thinkers such as Senge, de Geus and Fairtlough by exploring how the forces that make up today’s online revolution can also be harnessed for successful business. Each chapter will take an aspect of Web 2.0 and describe a parallel practice in leadership, using case studies and insightful quotes from leading practitioners to illustrate its point.


1. Introduction

2. The Business With A Mind Of Its Own Collective intelligence can be harnessed to achieve an innovative, highly-charged creative environment (Senge called it “metanoia”). How can business structures change to encourage such creativity?

3. The Power Of A Common Interest Online communities have been shown to prosper if the unifying cause is appropriate; corporate loyalty is the same. How can businesses tap into genuine passions to motivate staff?

4. I Didn’t Know You Knew That! Wikis are web pages edited by the users; successful intranets and other forms of knowledge management ensure that no-one’s knowledge goes to waste. What are the latest innovations?

5. Making The Private Public Blogs and online profiles open up the personal to public scrutiny, but also aid our understanding of each other; the “duvet days” policy adopted by some companies acknowledges that employees are more than just corporate animals. What are the pros and cons?

6. Who’ll be Number One in 2020? Web 2.0’s Long Tail shows us that its important not to just concentrate on creating the big “hits” – the little ones can be just as successful. How far can businesses accommodate this?

7. Facilitating Workplace Democracy Tagging and social bookmarking are creating new hierarchies of language online; it’s been argued that participation equals power but can folksonomies really change businesses for the better?

8. Open Source Business Open Source and Creative Commons have been intrinsic to the success of Web 2.0 – but seem counter-intuitive in business. What models have been proven to work?

9. Conclusion The “Leadership 2.0” way of doing things

If you’ve any comments/thoughts, please let me know – all feedback appreciated!

10 replies on “In search of Leadership 2.0”

I think Seth hit it on the head with Tribes, so would definitely be looking to build upon that work – his ability to simplify complex concepts is amazing.

Also, some great prior work here on “Leader of Leaders” which is insightful.

My good friend and former TCG partner Giovanni Rodriguez has some great work around, the concept “in a world where everyone participates, how do you define leadership”

Personally, I see this as a time to set up systems to allow for emergent leadership, where leaders need to foster other leaders by sharing the responsibility, the risk and the reward. This is somewhat related to my thoughts around “Do It Together”. Will be sharing more of my thoughts around this as I start writing through AdHocnium in the very near future…

Its hard for me to give you a lot more on this in writing, but would be happy to do a podcast or have a separate chat with you.

Hi Jemima,

Steve Johnson mentioned your work today. Picking up on some previous research undertaken at a company I work with, we’re soon launching a new project looking at the people leadership implications of the increasingly virtual workplace being ushered in by 2.0 & globalisation. Your book looks like a great companion piece to that. I look forward to reading it.

[…] This summer was going to be tough: deadline looming, heatwave simmering, credit crunching. Luckily, help has arrived in the form of the fabulous Deborah Dignam from Galway, Ireland, who’s been helping me with research and other stuff for the final draft of my “Leadership 2.0″ book. […]

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