Are you familiar with crowdsourcing? Perhaps you are already doing it!
If you have used Tripadvisor.com to help you plan travel or accommodation, you are relying on the value created by crowds of users. It is a relatively new business model, to harness the creativity and knowledge of crowds, yet it is not entirely new.
'Marketing Genius' author Peter Fisk explores this and more in his new book 'Creative Genius'. The marketing function has a crucial element that is often overlooked in the rush to get new sales: researching the needs of current and potential customers.
Improvements in communications technology (the internet, mobile phones, social media applications) are creating a resurgent interest in how companies (and non-profits) can harness the inputs of crowds.
They have become a source of creative input for many enterprises; even a cost-saving method. Clothing company Threadless.com turns the buying public into a creative collaborator.
Those who create communities of interest are becoming more powerful (Facebook has more traffic than Google) as we race to engage with one-another. Crowds are becoming not just an audience, or a condiuit for spreading information, but also a source of knowledge and creativity.
But as Fisk asks, will customers demand payback for their contribution? Threadless offers discounts to people providing successful t-shirt designs. But what if crowds start to flex their influence in order to shape the news agenda? Crowdsourced input to literary works, funding for movies and now funding for photo journalism (http://bit.ly/awp5RS) can shape the world as we perceive it. If a political party or pressure group pours funds into such initiatives, will they change our minds? Can we move an organisation’s agenda? It sure beats waving placards at their doors!