Mindworks’ Weblog

Thinking Matters

Cognitive surplus revisited

Posted by Andrew Cooper on September 17, 2010

Since I first blogged here about Clay Shirky’s idea of cognitive surplus (and set up a separate blog containing a review of his first book, Here Comes Everybody) a couple of relevant things have happened.  First, Shirky published a second book this year; Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age.  Secondly, the UK has acquired a new government which promotes as one of its fundamental principles the idea of ‘Big Society‘ the aim of which is to to “create a climate that empowers local people and communities, building a big society that will ‘take power away from politicians and give it to people”.

One of the criticisms of Shirky’s new book is that the ideas on which it is based are fine in theory but Shirky appears to have no practical experience of applying them himself.  Unlike, for example, this chap.  I’m not sure how many of our current Cabinet have organised volunteer groups but those who, like me, have will know that it involves a number of  ‘challenges’.  I won’t elaborate for now – most of the problems are fairly obvious – but I will return to them in another post.  In the meantime it will be interesting to see how the  Big Society develops.


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