Howard Rheingold, Paul Saffo, and Lucy Bernholz spoke out on disruption at today's NetSquared conference. The conversation and Q&A toured a variety of issues, but one salient bit related to the issues of leadership that came up at this weekend's WineCamp.
As Rheingold put it, open source development would be a collective argument without Linus Torvalds, as would Wikipedia without Jimmy Wales. (Disclosure note: Omidyar Network is an investor in Wikia.) As emergent leaders, Torvalds and Wales serve as the last word in their respective communities. These communities can't have completely collective decision-making; you need some small residue of hierarchy that allow focused decisions to be made.
Rheingold also commented on how Omidyar Network drove an experiment in which it gave $25,000 to the community and had the community decide how to invest it. As he noted, there was a great deal of chaos involved, and now the community is looking at what worked and what did not so that it can have another go-around.
These two bits on disruption and leadership feed directly into the ongoing dialogue on how organizational hierarchies and community leadership are evolving in the face of dynamic new organizational models.