Just wanted to post a quick follow up to my piece on the Croudsourcery panel that took place at JWT last week.
I was in a meeting this morning with Jory Des Jardins, the Co-Founder of BlogHer, a phenomenally popular blogging community for women, and in mentioning a particular facet of crowdsourcing, she got me thinking….
Jory stopped short of advocating every project being crowdsourced, but emphasized the importance of brands using communities of consumers to help them with select and mould a creative idea.
Many employees of creative agencies, and in particular the Creative department, navigate the issue of crowdsourcing with considerable trepidation. And who can blame them. While lots of us are excited at the opportunity and potential, some of my creative brothers (and I by no means want to suggest this rule applies to all of them) worry that they will be cut out the creative process, and that their worth will be rendered greatly diminished.
I have heard several solutions to this potential problem. Jory’s was that creative agencies should become the curators of the crowdsourced content, using their creative know how and strategic chops to select the content that will best deliver for the brand. This to me sounds like a potentially excellent solution. Consumers are empowered to have a say in the brand’s future- the idea, will after all ultimately come from them- while agencies retain some loose control of the idea, exerting a light guiding hand that steers away from stormy waters.
Perhaps rather than curator, the agency’s role could be better described as alchemist. Rather than choosing one complete idea over another, they might take elements of several ideas and help meld them together to create one uber idea, or perhaps solid gold. Clearly the term crowdsourcing requires further definition and etymological analysis as it currently means a lot of things to a lot of people. However, I still like to imbue it with a sense of collaboration, so the notion of an idea being created by many rather than one individual, appeals to me, especially as it leaves more consumers feeling like they are part of something.
A few lingering concerns- Where does crowdsourcing end and co-creation begin? I don’t think these terms are interchangeable, but I am yet to hear a clear articulation on their precise differences. Also, to what extent will consumers, especially given that most of those who dedicate time to winning crowdsourcing competitions are far from the amateurs we like to imagine they are, accept us taking elements of their idea, and meddling with them?
I could go on and on. But I wont. Would love to hear your thoughts on the topic…