Ford interacts with grassroots conservatives online – Could this be part of a turning point for Detroit – and for other American business?

I’ll lead with a comment I just posted on Redcounty.com – the blog by @Michael Leahy about the amazing interchange that took place yesterday on the Twitter #TCOT (top conservatives on Twitter) forum between him and @ScottMonty – an executive in communications with Ford Motor Company. (read Michael’s amazing article – plus all comments – here).

My comments:

This was a fascinating exchange, and one that gives great hope.

What if a major auto company in an industry in great peril, were to open up to the American people and humbly ask them to help figure out how to make it out of this mess?

What if, rather than asking for money, they asked Americans to contribute their hearts, spirits, minds and experience – in the tens of thousands – to this experiment?

Sound crazy? maybe not —

There is a famous story in the book Wikinomics, How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, by Dan Tapscot and Anthony Williams. It is about a mining company that was in major trouble called GoldCorp. They were not able to find enough gold and were about to go under. In desperation they humbled themselves, threw their problems out to the public in a plea for help, and a miracle happened.

Here are some quotes from a great summary at http://www.bullnotbull.com/archive/wikinomics.htm

“…If Goldcorp employees couldn’t find the Red Lake gold, maybe someone else could. And maybe the key to finding those people was to open up the exploration process in the same way Torvalds ‘open sourced’ Linux. ”

“McEwen raced back to Toronto to present the idea to his head geologist. ‘I’d like to take all of our geology, all the data we have that goes back to 1948, and put it into a file and share it with the world,’ he said. ‘Then we’ll ask the world to tell us where we’re going to find the next six million ounces of gold…'”

“…more than one thousand virtual prospectors from fifty countries got busy crunching the data….Within weeks, submissions from around the world came flooding in to Goldcorp headquarters. As expected, geologists got involved. But entries came from surprising sources, including graduate students, consultants, mathematicians, and military officers, all seeking a piece of the action. ‘We had applied math, advanced physics, intelligent systems, computer graphics, and organic solutions to inorganic problems. ‘There were capabilities I had never seen before in the industry,’ says McEwen. ”

“‘When I saw the computer graphics I almost fell out of my chair.’ The contestants had identified 110 targets on the Red Lake property, 50 percent of which had not been previously identified by the company. Over 80 percent of the new targets yielded substantial quantities of gold. In fact, since the challenge was initiated an astounding eight million ounces of gold have been found. McEwen estimates the collaborative process shaved two to three years off their exploration time.”

“…McEwen saw things differently. He realized that … by sharing some intellectual property he could harness the power of collective genius and capability. In doing so he stumbled successfully into the future of innovation, business, and how wealth and just about everything else will be created. Welcome to the new world of wikinomics where collaboration on a mass scale is set to change every institution in society.”

Could it be those at #TCOT and Ford might be onto something here?

–end of article comments —

As one who has been on the Web since the beginning and in online community building (BBS’s, The Source, Compuserve etc.) since the early 80’s, this is an astounding moment. To imagine that a major business like an auto manufacturer might open up and ask the American people for real advice –

It has been proven again and again in recent years that the opening up of businesses to the real voice of grassroots people and the ensuing transparency and accountability that comes is revolutionary for businesses which engage. It also transforms society in that regular people feel a part of business – even bigger business.

To think that a grassroots organization – of conservatives, no less – could offer thousands of hands up instead of hands out to one of our most critical industries is nothing short of breathtaking.

It might work!!

2 thoughts on “Ford interacts with grassroots conservatives online – Could this be part of a turning point for Detroit – and for other American business?

  1. Please be careful here. I was merely on Twitter exchanging information and it was #TCOT that self-organized on behalf of Ford; we did not ask anyone to do this on our behalf.

    I’m sure you can appreciate that as an organization, Ford cannot align itself with any political ideology. We are an American company, pure and simple, and we want to provide products that make people’s lives better, no matter their political stripe.

    Scott Monty

    Global Digital Communications

    Ford Motor Company

  2. What a LIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are an American company, pure and simple, and we want to provide products that make people’s lives better. How did you make my son’s life better by , letting him burn alive in a Ford Product!!!!!! Ford Motor Company does not represent the American Values most American would deem admiral . Killing the customer is a NO NO, spending $20.oo to fix a company mistake YES, YES, That is as pure and simple as it gets.Delicia Dawn Lewis CEP of Payton’s Project

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