We Think

We Think
We Think

We Think explains how digital technologies are enabling new forms of collaborative creativity and innovation.

We Think was published in March 2008 after a long period of development which included sharing a draft of the first elevn chapters online. This draft was downloaded thousands of times and I got hundreds of comments from people, most of them very helpful and some that changed the way the book was written. We Think has been published in several languages and referred to by people all over the world.

This video based on the illustrations done by Debbie Powell and animated by Tim Cowie explains the main ideas in the book.


You can find video of me talking about the ideas behind the book here.

My TED talk on collaborative innovation is here

[ted id=63]

This is a selection of the commentary on the book.

Spectator Interview with Matt D’Ancona here

Pat Kane’s Review in the Independent here and Andrew Keen’s response to the book here and Management Today here

We-think: what’s it about?

we think

More people than ever can participate in culture, contributing their ideas, views, information.

The web allows them not just to publish but to share and connect, to collaborate and when the conditions are right, to create, together, at scale.

That is why the web is a platform for mass creativity and innovation.

We Think published in March 2008 is an exploration of what that will mean for our culture, the way we work, government, science and business.

Welcome to We-think: mass innovation, not mass production

We Think explores how the web is changing our world, creating a culture in which more people than ever can participate, share and collaborate, ideas and information.

Ideas take life when they are shared. That is why the web is such a potent platform for creativity and innovation.

It’s also at the heart of why the web should be good for : democracy, by giving more people a voice and the ability to organise themselves; freedom, by giving more people the opportunity to be creative and equality, by allowing knowledge to be set free.

But sharing also brings with it dilemmas.

It leaves us more open to abuse and invasions of privacy.

Participation is not always a good thing: it can just create a cacophony.

Collaboration is sustained and reliable only under conditions which allow for self organisation.

Everywhere we turn there will be struggles between people who want to freely share – music, films, ideas, information – and those who want to control this activity, either corporations who want to make money or governments who fear debate and democracy. This conflict between the rising surge of mass collaboration and attempts to retain top down control will be one of the defining battles of our time, from Communist China, to Microsoft’s battle with open source and the music industry’s desperate rearguard action against the web.

Below you can download the first three chapters of We Think.

And if you want to leave a comment or contact me just go to the adjacent pages on the site.

Chapter One

Download (PDF, 361KB)

Chapter Two

Download (PDF, 457KB)

Chapter Three

Download (PDF, 328KB)


Download (PDF, 74KB)

You can see an animation outlining the ideas in the book here on YouTube.

You can buy a copy at Amazon or through any good bookshop.

Here you can find the original first draft, which appeared on the web in October 2006. Much of this material did not make it, in this form, into the final draft.

First Draft

Download (PDF, 639KB)

Here you can find much the background research reports I used to write the book.

And you find me on Facebook and Myspace

I hope you enjoy it….

Charlie Leadbeater


  1. Thank you Charles. It was an insightful and interesting read. I bumped into your site through the wiki page on “Mass collaboration”. I happen to read the excerpt posted there as well under the references.
    Anyway, I am writing a good 8 years later after you published the book “We think”. Many of the things and ideas you proposed came out so true. It is indeed an era of Mass innovation and creativity and the web promotes it in a easy and cost effective way.

    I also agree, that there is a challenge from the Top-down structure and the command and control hierarchies in organizations.

    Great. I will refer the site and your book on my blog on the same subject. I will keep coming over for any updates.

    Thanks and regards,

    Ramkumar Yaragarla


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