Jeff Howe

Co-Author, Whiplash
Visiting Scholar, MIT
Assistant Professor, School of Journalism at Northwestern University



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Biography

Jeff Howe explores the frontiers of our media and technology future and brings back valuable, vivid reports on the dangers and possibilities waiting for us there. He coined the term crowdsourcing in 2006 and published a book on the subject in 2008. Now, with his new book Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, he shows us how to navigate the exponential acceleration of everything digital and its white water confluence with the Internet. Jeff Howe is a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab and an assistant professor and the program coordinator for Media Innovation at Northeastern University.

Our faster future. Our reality is getting a major upgrade to an all-new operating system. The learning curve will be steep and those who learn to think differently will be the ones who succeed. In his new book Whiplash, Jeff Howe and his coauthor Joi Ito get us past the Cliff Notes on this future and detail for us nine areas in which we must change our thought and practice in order to thrive in our faster future. We must learn to use a compass instead of a map, for example, and to value practice over theory. This is a must-hear, must-learn message for any business today.

Crowdsourcing — what the crowd knows, creates, thinks, and funds. Crowdsourcing is the technique of outsourcing a job to an undefined, usually large group of people — applying open source principles to fields besides software. It is based on the insight that the crowd often can know things, create things, and be more productive than the individual specialist or even a small team of specialists. Jeff Howe introduced us to this idea in “The Rise of Crowdsourcing,” his 2006 article for Wired magazine. His 2008 book Crowdsourcing: How the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business, unpacked the practical applications of this revolution and laid out its disruptive consequences for both businesses and the workplace.

Credentials. In addition to his current academic posts, Jeff Howe is a longtime contributing editor at Wired magazine covering media and entertainment. Before coming to Wired, he was a senior editor at Inside.com and a writer at the Village Voice. He has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report, Newyorker.com, Mother Jones, and numerous other publications. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Topics

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  • Whiplash

    How to Survive Our Faster Future



    Today, not only is everything digital getting faster, cheaper, and smaller at an exponential rate, we also have the Internet. When these two revolutions-one in technology and the other in communications-joined, an explosive force was unleaded that changed the very nature of innovation. And with any change, we have seen many strategic blunders and extraordinary learning curves along the way.

    At last, in Whiplash, Joi Ito and Jeff Howe have distilled nine organizing principles for navigating and surviving this tumultuous period. These principles give us a roadmap on how to thrive no matter what industry we're in.

    With Whiplash, two great thinkers tell us how to adapt and succeed in today's unpredictable marketplace.

    Grand Central Publishing (September 6, 2016)


  • Crowdsourcing

    Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business



    Why does Procter & Gamble repeatedly call on enthusiastic amateurs to solve scientific and technical challenges? How can companies as diverse as iStockphoto and Threadless employ just a handful of people, yet generate millions of dollars in revenue every year?

    "Crowdsourcing" is how the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the responsibility of a specialized few. Jeff Howe reveals that the crowd is more than wise–it’s talented, creative, and stunningly productive. It’s also a perfect meritocracy, where age, gender, race, education, and job history no longer matter; the quality of the work is all that counts. If you can perform the service, design the product, or solve the problem, you’ve got the job.

    But crowdsourcing has also triggered a dramatic shift in the way work is organized, talent is employed, research is conducted, and products are made and marketed. As the crowd comes to supplant traditional forms of labor, pain and disruption are inevitable, and Howe delves into both the positive and negative consequences of this intriguing phenomenon. Through extensive reporting from the front lines of this workplace revolution, he employs a brilliant array of stories to look at the economic, cultural, business, and political implications of crowdsourcing.

    Random House Books (12 Jan. 2008)


    Praise

    "An informed and enthusiastic guide to the new collaborative creativity."
    Times (London)

    "A welcome and well-written corporate playbook for confusing times."
    BusinessWeek

    "An engaging mix of business, sociology, organizational theory, and technology writing and fits the mold of Malcolm Gladwell’s perennial bestseller, The Tipping Point."
    Newsweek

    “While small groups have often been the foundation of great performance — think SWAT teams and Skunk Works — Jeff Howe has made the compelling case for the power of far larger communities of interest. He shows in Crowdsourcing — with rich illustrations from Google and InnoCentive to Threadless and Wikipedia—that the right community with the right incentives can often invent, write, and run research and business initiatives more effectively and less expensively than traditional enterprise.”
    — Michael Useem, professor of management and director of the Leadership Center at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Go Point: When It’s Time to Decide and The Leadership Moment

    “Beyond the wisdom of crowds is the work of crowds, a powerful and transformative source of creativity and an economic engine that defies traditional rules. Jeff Howe’s guide to crowdsourcing — to use his perfect coinage — is insightful, fun, and indispensable to those who want to understand, or participate in, this amazing phenomenon.”
    — Steven Levy, author of Hackers and The Perfect Thing

    “Jeff Howe has captured a complex and vital change in the business landscape: in the next few years, your customers could become your collaborators, or your competitors. His ability to weave story and strategy together makes Crowdsourcing a readable and indispensable guide to this new world.”
    — Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody

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