Most notably, AFKN today supports more than 300,000 users--a user-base that continues to grow by 1,000 new users and 100 new communities every week (Mayer, 2009).
Overall, the AFKN experience is reflected in a quote from the book, Wikinomics, where authors Tapscott and Williams state, "While hierarchies are not vanishing, profound changes in the nature of technology, demographics, and the global economy are giving rise to powerful new models of production based on community, collaboration, and self-organization rather than on hierarchy and control" (2006, pg.
These findings combined with the personal experience of the primary researcher (who was the Director of AFKN since its inception) provide the basis for the qualitative results presented.
The following paragraphs identify seven key lessons learned (some with accompanying illustrative examples) over ten years working with AFKN.
The most fundamental principle leading to the growth and popularity of AFKN has been the decentralized approach.
It should be mentioned, however, that a decentralized approach was NOT the original AFKN CoP strategy.
Since the beginning, AFKN staff leadership has demanded that system developers keep system "ease of use" a top priority.