For a long time we have known that crowds are smarter than one individual alone. James Surowiecki explores this in his book, The Wisdom of Crowds. Crowds typically solve simple problems like guessing competitions, to complex problems, like locating a sunk submarine, better than a single individual.
Collaboration consistently produces higher achievements. More often than not these days, it is a group of 4 or 5, that collects the Noble Prize, rather than a single individual.
This month, Barclay Bank designed the world’s first credit card through crowd sourcing. Through a virtual community, card holders will see the profit and loss of the card, table their ideas for innovation and debate their choice for changes in features.
See the card launched in March, 2012
With first mover advantage in crowd sourcing, Barclay’s have claimed a strategic segment in the market and a prominent foot print on the web. Imagine how Search Engine are going to just love all the “natural language” comments customers create in their online forums!
Crowd sourcing is creating new possibilities, just by bringing together opportunity with opportunity ready individuals, like never before.
There is crowd funding like http://www.wikinvest and http://www.kickstarter.com.
This crowd funding allows investors to have dibs on products in the pipeline. It is also a great way to get feedback on the product, while it is in research and development stage.
There is crowd wisdom
If you are stuck even before concept stage, why not bounce around ideas at crowd sourcing web sites. Check out http://www.chaordix.com and http://www.innocentive.com for business problems and http://www.kluster.com for brainstorming and feedback.
You can catch all the latest and greatest in crowd sourcing at this fascinating industry forum: http://www.crowdsourcing.org/.
Hearts and Minds
More on Surowiecki’s theory: