The authors of the book wikinomics left the last chapter open to be written by the interested community. This experiment worked very good and proved the authors main thesis: we are entering the era of mass collaboration. With great results, their experiment got extended. Now various authors write together on different themes. Recently, they wrote about open public relations, and the result was quite interesting.

Traditionally the role of the public relations department was to control the flow and angle of information that went to company stakeholders. Making that process open and transparent involves rethinking the relationships with all your stakeholders, including the companies own employees.

Traditional approaches are grounded in the assumptions of a broadcast world: that the media environment can be controlled and that corporate messages can be pushed out to consumers who will believe and internalize them. In a pervasive computing environment, these one-way conversations fail to build credibility.

The premise of open PR is that information will leak out eventually so it’s better to join the conversation early than to put out fires after the fact.

Other interesting points discussed in the article are about the important benefit of feedback through openness. But, it is also clear that such a change needs a certain culture within the organization, otherwise there is a risk of failing. It would be interesting to discuss about what are the conditions for such an open approach. Examples showed that second mover have an advantage. Personally, I find very interesting that with this open approach, public relation and knowledge management overlap more and more.

Next week they are going to write about collaboration for culture…