“Crowdsourcing”/ “open collaboration”/ “business2.0” – this trend is being analyzed more carefully. This time it’s Booz Allen offering words of caution, remembering the 1980’s and the “Quality” movement (we’d add the “Re-engineering” frenzy). Success cases exist – we wouldn’t write this blog if we didn’t believe in harnessing the right connections – but as we’ve started discussing in our Netflix post, beware survivorship bias and remember that positive cases usually make for better headlines.
The point here is, on the company side, to remember Warren Buffett’s “institutional imperative” analogy. A manager’s job is not to keep up with buzzwords, after all. Crowdsourcing is a new thing, therefore relatively untested, and it certainly has its optimal applications and its limits – which probably haven’t been found yet. It’s just another tool available and should be subject to the same rigorous analysis before the company starts using it.
The crowd is wise – when it’s focused – NY Times, July 2009 – here’s the link to a MIT paper they quote called “Harnessing Crowds: Mapping the Genome of Collective Intelligence”
Jeff Howe’s blog on the subject – Pretty much dead, but it has links to other Crowdsourcing stories.