The Rise of the Amateur Professional
Charles Leadbeater, social entrepreneur and author of We-think, gave an interesting presentation at TED about the emergence of the "amateur professional." He argues along the same lines as the authors of The Global Brain: essentially the internet and other social technologies are facilitating "network-centric innovation" by leveraging talent outside the organization, mainly from consumers.
It's a very interesting video, particularly his anecdotal example of Tim Chang, an entrepreneur in China who has a customer base of 250 million and who is servicing them with a staff of only 500, of which most of them are consumer/developers. He's providing the platform and "stickiness" and they're contributing the development talent.
A few quotes which stuck:
"You don't need an organization to organize and solve really hard problems."
"The more radical the innovation, the more the uncertainty, the more you need innovation-in-use to figure out what the technology is for. More and more innovators don't know the exact use; lead users will help direct the application."
"Users into producers, consumers into designers."
Highly recommend the video.