collective distributed creativity

Before the Fall

With a word it begins … the sound of clicking keys and the smell of wet fur fill the room. Möbius strips made of banana yellow construction paper and Scotch tape are scattered haphazardly across the floor. The chief monkey, careful not to slip and fall, ambles from desk to desk collecting papers before pasting them slowly and deliberately into a gigantic scrapbook. He scratches himself, enjoying the sensation. If he had been able to read, as he once had been, he would have read something similar, or perhaps completely different, to the following…..


This is the beginning of a novel that was written by nearly 1,500 separate authors who never met physically. They contributed through over 110,000 edits of writing and re-writing. This was a project carried out by Penguin and De Montfort University in the UK. At the end, the experimenters report that it was not a community. Rather, "the individuals spontaneously organized themselves into a diverse, riotous assembly."  

Professor | Writer | Teacher Digital Innovation, Design, Organizational Genetics Case Western Reserve University

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