I may be a bit late getting on the boat here, but I wanted to share the concept (and the nifty mashup/web application). Radical trust is a term used to describe the confidence, hope, and risk that any structured organization must take when working collaboratively with an online community of users. More specifically, radical trust pertains to the use of participant-friendly blogs, wikis and online social networking platforms by organizations (businesses, libraries, museums) to cultivate relationships with an online community that can then provide feedback and direction for the organization’s interest. The organization trusts (radically) and uses that input in its management.
We can only build emergent systems if we have radical trust. With an emergent system, we build something without setting in stone what it will be or trying to control all that it will be. We allow and encourage participants to shape and sculpt and be co-creators of the system. We don’t have a million customers/users/patrons … we have a million participants and co-creators.
Radical trust is about trusting the community. We know that abuse can happen, but we trust (radically) that the community and participation will work. In the real world, we know that vandalism happens but we still put art and sculpture up in our parks. As an online community we come up with safeguards or mechanisms that help keep open contribution and participation working.
Blyberg, John. (2006). 11 reasons why Library 2.0 exists and matters, Blyberg.net