Six Guidelines for COINs
Waggle dance for the best honeybees. The most successful COINs
are those that recruit the best and most highly respected members.
Creators—while continuing to do their waggle dance—should strive
only for the best, even if the process of reaching their goal might take
much more time that way.
Understand that COIN members work for the greater good and an
ego boost. The main motivation for people to join a COIN is to con-
tribute to a shared goal about which they are passionate, not to
make money or get famous. These two motivations, in this order—
first for the greater good, to make the world a better place in some
way, and second for some ego boosting—are the main reasons that
people join a COIN.
Allow COINs to go through multiple phases. Picasso went through
his Blue and Red periods to discover Cubism. COINs go through
many different phases, with differing membership and different tac-
tical goals, without losing sight of the big vision, of course.
Accept rotational leadership. The most successful innovation teams
at collaborating high-tech companies rotate leadership. In COINs,
too, at any given phase, there is a clear leader, but the leader is will-
ing to pass on leadership to whoever is the most capable of reaching
the goal for the next phase.
Be a small fish in a big pond. French researchers found that jun-
ior cancer researchers succeed more rapidly working from presti-
gious research labs. In the same vein, it is better for the goals of a
COIN to be associated with a powerful incubating environment.
COINs should associate themselves with and draw inspiration from
successful organizations. Look at Steve Jobs, who got his ideas for
Apple Computer from the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
(PARC), or Google, which was started by two students from
Stanford, one of the top U.S. universities.
Ask and give advice. The French cancer researchers documented
the benefits of engaging in a mutual dialogue of giving and receiving
help. Selflessness and altruism are not just good for the environment,
but also for the people sharing what they know.
This in-depth discussion of how to nurture and foster collabora-
tion to create the product at the core of the COIN leads us to the next
chapter, on how COIN members leverage their friends and family
network to both learn about best uses and potential enhancements for
their product and recruit new members for their COIN.
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