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Information, Technology, and Innovation: Resources for Growth in a Connected World by John M. Jordan

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CHAPTER 9

Firms, Ecosystems, and Collaboratives

The Internet and mobility are changing how resources can be organized to do work. The limited liability joint stock corporation remains useful for assembling capital at scale, which helps build railroads, steel mills, and other industrial facilities. With manufacturing less important in the U.S. economy in the past 50 years and new tools facilitating coordination and collaboration at scale without need for twentieth-century firms, we are witnessing some fascinating new sizes, shapes, and types of organizations. As MIT professor Erik Brynolfsson noted in the Sloan Management Review, we need to rethink the very nature of firms, beginning with Ronald Coase's famous theory: “The traditionally sharp distinction between markets and firms is giving way to a multiplicity of different kinds of organizational forms that don't necessarily have those sharp boundaries.”1

Emerging Nonfirm Models

Rather than try to construct a typology or theory of nonfirm entities, I give a series of examples in which people can get things done outside traditional governmental and company settings. Each of these relies on some combination of connectedness, mobility, data access and interrogation, and other attributes of the contemporary landscape.

Kickstarter.com

How do art and creativity find funding? The answers have varied tremendously throughout human history: rich patrons, family, credit card debt, and many forms of government funding. David Bowie issued ...

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