I lack a specific definition or term for what I have been writing about here — mainly because there isn’t one. “Crowdsourcing” comes close, but it is a bit constraining in that it connotes outsourcing work to the crowd, which is only part of the story. Thus, in light of that, I will be posting a series covering the various aspects of whatever the hell this is that I am talking about with examples of each portion in action. It will by no means be exhaustive, but it should provide a good overview of some interesting orgs that are leveraging these principles.
So, let’s set out with a few of the current names for it and related concepts that feed into it:
The overarching themes revolve around: Crowdsourcing; Outside Innovation; Innovation Networks; the Wisdom of crowds; and Customer co-creation.
These larger initiatives are supported by: Web 2.0/Social Computing; Mass Customization; the Long Tail; Open Innovation; Peer production; Prediction markets; Voting and ratings; Competitions and prizes; Lead users; Transparent business practices; and Democratized content creation and distribution.
(Don’t forget, Sami Viitamaki has a pretty generalized but effective take on how to think about Crowdsourcing in particular with his FLIRT model.)
So, going forward I am going to touch on a variety of topics that will hopefully clear things up a bit. Some of the topics I will cover:
- Prediction markets
- Crowdsourcing: Graphic design
- Customer co-creation and crowdsourcing: New product development
- Home Fabbing and Crowdsourcing: Physical product design and development
- Crowdsourcing: Content creation
- Crowd feedback; or, Business starts to listen
- Crowdsourcing: Problem solving
- Many hands make light work: The atomization of work resulting in the completion of massive jobs.
All of this stuff is connected somehow, is undergirded by similar philosophies, tools and technology, and methodologies — and I love geeking out about it. There are some powerful changes hidden in all of this and, while many of the concepts have been with us and operating for some time — centuries even — only recently has a confluence of developments led to the ability to really harness it all.