After admitting that crowdsourcing was a new concept for me, I now have my head firmly stuck in the book of the same name by Jeff Howe.
It doesn’t take much reading to recognise a phenomenon that has been growing for some time. Development of the Linux operating system is perhaps the best known of the many-hands-make-light-work idea, but there are many more. Software development. Logo design. Computer time. It seems there is a vast underworld of worker bees doing stuff outside of the normal business model, just for the sheer joy of being involved.
What comes across most compellingly when you check out each of the examples is that these people are all doing something they love. Programming. Designing. Writing. Whatever. They don’t see it as work, but as a privilege to be involved in.
It seems to me that there are two really important ideas that come out of this “oh, my goodness, what a brilliant idea crowdsourcing is” thing:
1. When people do something they love, and are good at, they produce excellent results
2. When like-minded people get together to do something they love, and are good at, they produce amazingly excellent results
Unsurprisingly, others have read the book and are clambering onto the crowdsourcing bandwagon. Large companies (Dell, Google, and I’m sure many others) are taking advantage of something that clearly has benefit to their bottom line if they can get it right.
But you don’t have to be Dell or Google to make use of this idea. The idea of managed collaboration was highlighted in a comment to a post just a few days ago. Whether the people you are collaborating with are in the next cubicle, the next town, or several routers away on another continent hardly matters. What matters is bringing people together to create something more extraordinary than anyone could produce on their own. Technology is as beautiful as nature sometimes.
As an aside, if you are reading this and have an opinion or two on anything you have read, leave a comment. Whilst my merry band of readers might not quite fit the definition of a crowd, they do massively enhance and expand the value to everyone by adding, challenging and commenting.