Stanford Social Innovation Review: Problem-Solving in Uncertainty

Walter McKenzie
Walter McKenzie Administrator, Moderator Posts: 753 admin
Bill Joy is well known as the cofounder of Sun Microsystems, now part of Oracle. He coined what has become known as Joy’s Law: “No matter who you are, most of the smart people work for someone else.” The logical corollary of Joy’s law is that you have to find a way of accessing that intelligence. As Bill Joy put it, “It’s better to create an ecology that gets all the world’s smartest people toiling in your garden for your own goals. If you rely on your own employees, you’ll never solve all your customer’s needs.”

For some it comes as a shock to have to see the world this way. We spent a lot of our careers trying to get the smartest people in the room, and linking ourselves to other experts outside the room. The implications for how organizations solve problems are huge. How does our recruiting need to change if we are drawing more on others in the ecosystem? Do we know how to put together really diverse teams? What role should so-called experts play when innovation demands new competence? How do we organize to put Joy’s Law, and more broadly collective intelligence, to work?

Read the full piece here.