Crowdsourcing is here, but where it will take us?

via Charelton Heights Elementary School

via Charelton Heights Elementary School

Imagine this.  You just had a slew of ideas rejected for new mobile telephone campaign you’ve been working on.  But online, you come across a request from another mobile company looking for fresh ideas from the community.  They’re crowdsourcing for content, and you’re sitting on some.  Do you submit the work and try to win anonymously?  Does your client own the rejected work?  Should you never, under any circumstances, participate in a crowdsourcing assignment from a brand that competes with one of your agency’s clients?  Or have (and will) all the rules change?

These are but a few of the many questions and issues that are bound to arise as crowdsourcing becomes more and more popular.  Will creativity become commoditized? Will content creators, individuals and agencies demand more ownership of their ideas so that they can, in fact, offer them up in multiple ways?  How will compensation work?  Will most of what gets served up as content be crap?  Or will the crowd, through its sheer volume, generate better, more compelling ideas?

For me, the real question is this:  Will we continue to use this new technique in the most boring and traditional of ways, simply creating competitions, calls for entry, and gigantic (dare I use the word; it’s not my term) gang bangs?  Or, will we let crowdsourcing inspire us to come up with new applications, products and creative experiences we haven’t even thought of yet because they were previously impossible.

I don’t know if we’ll answer a fraction of these questions, but next week, John Winsor, you, and I can try.

Join us via Twitter, or live at All About Crowdsourcing.  Bring questions; bring answers.  Hey, if we’re going to talk about crowdsourcing, we ought be practicing it, too.

Oh, and while you’re at it, check out one of my favorite examples of crowdsourcing.

10 comments
Kristian Dupont
Kristian Dupont

I think that blogs provide an interesting insight into what happens when "the crowd" is released at a given domain. In this case, it was newspapers and other publications.
Yes, it does commoditize creativity to some degree and yes, it does create compelling material simply out of volume. It doesn't destroy the traditional industry but it does force some kind of change.

Dylan
Dylan

The impact of crowd sourcing is undeniable. Take the t-shirt company Threadless: http://www.threadless.com/submit. Their entire business model was based on crowd sourcing before we even had that term to use. Part of their success is the community filter. As you mentioned in your post, some (or a lot) could turn out to be crap. But not only is the community creating/submitting designs, they are then rating and commenting on each other's designs. Only the best float to the top while the stinkers remain sinkers--for the crowd by the crowd.

I'll definitely be participating in this event through Twitter. Looking forward to it!

Ross Kimbarovsky
Ross Kimbarovsky

Edward - you've asked an interesting (and fair) point about crowdsourcing - can it do more to create new applications, products and experiences. But I'd encourage you to evaluate the benefits of crowdsourcing not just from the perspective of WHAT is being done (your reference to boring/traditional ways) but also to WHO is doing it. WHO is participating is perhaps more important (or at least equal in importance) than WHAT is being done.

History is rich with meaningful innovation coming from unexpected sources - and if crowdsourcing provides opportunities to those who otherwise could not compete in a traditional economy - the new applications, products and creative experiences will naturally flow from this access.

The Netflix prize, for example, opened the competition to teams from around the world and allowed anyone to compete, regardless of experience or status. In our own marketplace - http://www.crowdspring.com - nearly 34,000 designers from over 150 countries have access to a level playing field where they compete solely based on their work and not the size of their offices or where they went to school.

The All About Crowdsourcing event sounds outstanding - wish I was closer to Boston to attend. I'm looking forward to reading about it.

Best,

Ross Kimbarovsky
co-Founder
crowdSPRING
.-= Ross Kimbarovsky´s last blog ..Twitter Link Roundup - Design, Entrepreneurship, Social Media And More =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Jason:
Great minds as they say. That's the same link that's in the post. As Scott says, it's not a serious example, but it is a good one. There are lots of music sites that foster co-creation. I noted a couple in my response to Scott.

Jason Aiken
Jason Aiken

Hello from 99designs.com

Edward...
I love this example http://thru-you.com/#/videos/1/

I had seen it ways back but forgotten about it.

You raised a lot of questions about crowdsourcing from the ethical to the philosophical to the practical...needless to say it should be a fun discussion...looking forward to it.

Cheers,
Jason Aiken
99designs.com
.-= Jason Aiken´s last blog ..New Spa/Salon Concept - Edgy, Trendy, and Full of Creativety. =-.

@scottRcrawford
@scottRcrawford

Damn. There I go again letting my serious side get in the way of pure lightheartedness. Thanks for the reply and the additional examples.

edward boches
edward boches

Scott:
You are right. I was being lighthearted. I like things like forvo.com (for language); Jet Blue's story booth; Spot Us for journalists who are crowd funding; RYZ for footwear; Kompoz or Minimum Noise in the music space,and of course Lending Tree (client) are all better examples. I like ideas that build something bigger from the crowd, rather than just create competitions.

scottRcrawford
scottRcrawford

Edward. Thanks. Looking forward to what your upcoming session stirs. Curious though about your selection of favorite example. I love Kutiman's work, too, but isn't that really a turbopowered example of a mashup rather than crowdsource? Not to quibble, but could cause confusion if we start blending terms. What's the crowd say?

edward boches
edward boches

Dylan:
Agree. Threadbare is the early and often quoted example, and a model that has been replicated. Let the crowd create; let the crowd vote on best; offer the crowd selected product to the crowd. See my reply to Scott, too. Thanks for stopping by.

edward boches
edward boches

Ross:
Really good points. The WHO, as you put it, comes from both sides of the equation: the companies, brands, agencies attempting to create or yield something better through the contribution of the crowd, and the individuals choosing to participate, whether musicians, programmers, copywriters, etc. who hope to gain personally. For many individuals, for example, it's an opportunity for experience, getting one's voice heard, building reputation, making a contribution to a cause/content/community, earning money, or in the case of crowdfunding, gaining access to funding. I think there is a tendency in our business, however, to think it's simply about expanding one's pool of ideas for less. It may be that, but that's a limited application, and also one that can (doesn't always) lead to questionable or unfair practices.

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