Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Power to the People #crowdsourcing

For a while now I have been very keen on the phenomenon of crowdsourcing. Some of my followers may have noticed the incremental use of the hashtag - #crowdsourcing. I can tell you that it’s an extremely efficient research tool, when using the Tweetdeck app. It keeps you updated on a certain topic. This post is close to being a crowdsourcing project, in the sense that I’m using the twitter search function to get input and learn about this act. The only difference: The crowd doesn’t know that they are feeding me with stuff! Bang! Instant surveillance…. For those of you that don’t know what this crowdsourcing is all about wiki will tell you: the mother case of crowdsourcing! In the short version, it is the discipline of outsourcing a task to a crowd of people. Will crowdsourcing ever become a trending topic, btw – reaching a mainstream state? Actually, my first thought of this act was: What’s really groundbreaking about this? For years strategists have utilized the collaboration and co-creation concept. I have been in more workshops with the target group taking the act as communications experts or marketers. It works. People are enthusiastic and passionate about the making of something they really care about. And in the end you create dedicated ambassadors – fans being eager to make this a success and willing to pass on the message (voluntarily). This is for sure a bonus in a world where loyal consumers is diminishing.

The springing point between co-creation, collaboration and crowdsourcing is the total control being outsourced and facilitated through a digital platform. The platform can either be a community, website or a blog, actually, all digital platforms giving access to the people will work. Vizeum for IKEA used the blog format, Victors and Spoils (CP+Bs Crowdsourcing Agency) used a website, Amazon facilitates work through a community, and Swedish world record of ideas experiment idepedia.se used wiki as platform. The format can vary, the outcome can vary – but the platform is digital! At this second, while composing (very pretentious word), I read on Twitter that Victors and Spoils logo is live. Created by the people with the message ”Power to the Brand” & ”Power to the People”. The experiment is awesome - and it will be extremely interesting to see if they will succeed in the end. From my point of view they already succeeded since they showed guts by making an experiment.

There is a potential risk of failing, like with all business: “Fail Harder” should be a mandatory KPI. Building the crowdsourcing agency is just like building brands – V&S is building it around a story, making people act as messengers, which is a stroke of genius. Make the people build brands. One crucial thing (normally, I pray the no rules paradigm) is the anarchistic principle. Anarchism and total control for the crowd motivates for dedication and perfection. In the end these ingredients are almost guarantees for success. The more control you give, the more trust you gain. Nothing is really new about this one. It is just like giving a task to a village. They will solve it – due to a shared passion and interest in the community, but also because they feel some sort of responsibility to the community. This is a basic behavior that will exist. The Internet is a network of villages – and crowdsourcing is for sure tapping into this by creating new villages for people with a shared passion. Malcolm Gladwell would refer to this as tribes. The Internet is about the facilitation and organization of stuff. Actually, when I tapped into the new business model, principal of engagement, paradigm or whatever you will call it – it lead my mind to flash mobs. Actually, this phenomenom started in 2003. The people create real life mobs. The people have a shared passion for physical synchronization – and it is communicated and facilitated through the Internet. I haven’t made up my mind whether I like Internet written with I or i? A minor detour, sorry. I love flash mobs because it merges video and sound in an awesome way – and then it’s created by the people and for the people. It’s a symbol of true passion, of course with some sort of commercial messenger acting behind the scene with a hidden message of ROI. Where return most obviously is sales.

It leads me to the conclusion, which is more open than closed. Will the world exist of a world of brands, where each person is a brand that organizes in different groups? Will the world float with freelancers pitching for different tasks, where everybody is an expert in everything? If that is the case what will happen to the school system? Will the school system disappear, but then, how will people learn.

It has never been more important to have a strong network: the stronger a network, the more connections, and the more options of becoming a member in more networks. Your brand is the sum of your number of connections and their true value. The motivation for this is the gain of something.

I believe in crowdsourcing. It is a way of working that fits into the Internet culture. Crowdsourcing is about facilitation and organization – and its benefiting from the power of networks. Brands that manage to implement facilitation platforms will win. The most important outcome for the people is getting a more powerful network, so brands out there keep that in mind.

The message: “Stop campaigning, start facilitating”!


Spark Ideas From Anywhere said...

thanks for the good post. we're on a wonderful journey.

Iben said...
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Iben said...

I can't wait for the work scenario to come true if this also imply that people will be working based on motivations rather than wages (not that I want to remove wages just acknowledge that there are other systems of encouragement).

I just heard Kjell Nordström talking about how tacit knowledge will be the new black. This supports your observations on the individual as a brand. A brand build on the value of our networks as well as all the stuff and projects you are taking an interest in which do not stem from the school system or your corporate title. Hopefully this might actually encourage people to cultivate multiple sides of themselves leading to the ideals of the renaissance man.

Great thoughts, Hermansen, looking forward to read more.


Esben said...

Great thoughts - it is a really inspiring post.

Christian From Hermansen said...

@ibeniben, @esben - THANKS!

Jacob said...
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Jacob said...

www.botlandish.com is a great example of a brand that has managed to implement a facilitation platform. Through the clever use of allowing twitter user to control the website through hash tags, they engage users to participate directly with the brand itself. This site was developed by the interactive firm, Periscopic.

Christian From Hermansen said...

@Jacob Thanks for the tipping - awesome website!