Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Crowdsourcing -- What is it good for?

Absolutely everything? Maybe not. Sure, all of us are smarter than one of us, but managing all of us is a gigantic pain, not to mention that included in “all of us” is a lot of superbly untalented people. But thanks to Jeff Howe (see his video below), we have the label of “Crowdsourcing” for using the global community and taking advantage of all it has to offer. It's an open call for people who might have been our customers and are now our fellow collaborators.

What projects are best suited for this global orgy? I’ve seen many crowd sites for writing and many for design, some for viral videos and some for product development. The ideas, in my humble opinion, that work the best are ideas that are sans words. A great design is a globally accepted thing. Cool is cool, even if it’s not in your particular taste palette. Now of course there are many exceptions, but for the most part great design is great design. Check out www.thecoolhunter
.net/  <> to see great design from all over the world.

Viral videos that are crowdsourced are a bit more problematic. But that is because only about one out of every 50,000 viral videos are interesting or even in the ballpark of OK. There are a lot of bad videos out there. So as long as you know that and are looking to throw the dice, have at it. Some teenager in Singapore or cow farmer in Des Moines just might kill it.

Having the crowd write brand copy is even more of a crapshoot. The level of understanding of your brand is as important as the actual writing. I'd keep your in-house or trusted freelancers for that one. But again, out of the couple million people out there, someone could do a great job. Logo designing is your best bet for crowdsourcing. Try it and who knows, you might get something great. 

Again, all of us are both smarter and dumber than one of us. Be careful out there. 

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