Jimmy Wales was one of the creators of the world’s largest online encyclopedia. He learns the lessons of this free and collaborative knowledge model that companies can apply.
Wikipedia is a “giant organized by volunteers”, which integrates a long-term vision and a simple and innovative operation that challenges traditional collaborative work systems, says Jimmy Wales, its co-founder, promoter and president emeritus of the non-profit foundation. for-profit Wikimedia .
At 50 years old, this character has been considered by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world, in the category of Scientists and Thinkers. According to his own website, he “received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University and entered the University of Alabama Finance PhD funding program.” He was a university professor and constantly declares his urge for learning and objectivism.
His open policy vision turned readers into contributors and contributors into evangelists for a philosophy of open access to knowledge. In 2015, he was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in Spain for “being an example of international, democratic, open and participatory cooperation, in which thousands of people of all nationalities selflessly collaborate, which he has managed to make available to everyone.” universal knowledge in the world in a similar vein to that achieved by the encyclopedic spirit of the eighteenth century”.
Four lessons from Wikipedia for the business world
For Jimmy Wales, the world’s largest encyclopedia should not take sides on issues. Report neutrally with what reputable sources have said about it. “The interesting thing is that there are many people talking and debating until the last word of a sentence so that it is perfect. It is because of things like this that we managed to maintain a neutral gaze, ”he says.
Agility in important decisions
“Wikipedia’s governance model is a very confusing mix of consensus that allows you to work on something democratic,” says Wales. However, sometimes it behaves like a monarchy when relevant decisions have to be made. As a visionary and co-founder, Jimmy Wales spends not as much time as he would like to edit articles, but rather to define editorial policies and other far-reaching strategic projects.
Wikipedia is a tool for understanding the facts
“It is a historic moment to learn together. The fundamental vision of Wikipedia is to say that we have an incredible tool that unites people, that shares knowledge and that makes us understand each other.
Timely information at your fingertips It is estimated that in the coming years more than one billion people in the world will be connected to the Internet through their mobile devices, which means for people to have all the knowledge in their pockets within easy reach. her hands from her. “Now we have to encourage students to go further, to analyze the data. Wikipedia is a place of questions, not answers,” she explains.
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