What happens when you get the right community with the right incentives to focus on innovation? In Crowdsourcing, author Jeff Howe explores exactly that scenario and provides rich examples of how it is being done. The term was originated by Howe in a 2006 article in Wired Magazine – and describes how the power of many can out performed the power of a few. Howe explores both the negative and positive aspects of this approach to business. Drawing on the humble beginnings of Linux, Linus Torvald and the open source movement, Howe shows that a large and diverse pool will consistently come up with better solutions than a small group of experts. As an example, one of my favorite stories in this book is about iStockphoto, one of Canada’s many entrepreneurial successes. Thankfully, the founders at iStock were never asked to develop a business plan for their idea in business school (shades of Fedex). Howe shows us the beginning of a movement that celebrates collaboration, sharing, and creating – second nature for digital natives. An excellent read and worth your attention.
If you want to explore crowdsourcing firsthand (besides voting on “So You Think You Can Dance“), check out the crowdsourcing platform at Open Ideo. Jeff Howe has put us onto a good thing. So how will you use it?