Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"The Myth of Crowdsourcing". Here's an excerpt:
The notion of crowds creating solutions appeals to our desire to believe that working together we can do anything, but in terms of innovation it is just ridiculous.

There is no crowd in crowdsourcing. There are only virtuosos, usually uniquely talented, highly trained people who have worked for decades in a field. Frequently, these innovators have been funded through failure after failure. From their fervent brains spring new ideas. The crowd has nothing to do with it. The crowd solves nothing, creates nothing.

What really happens in crowdsourcing as it is practiced in wide variety of contexts, from Wikipedia to open source to scientific research, is that a problem is broadcast to a large number of people with varying forms of expertise. Then individuals motivated by obsession, competition, money or all three apply their individual talent to creating a solution.
There is a legitimate sense of "the power of crowds" in which multiple eyes on a project can catch subtle mistakes that might slip past one observer or in which aggregate actions of individuals acting in a free market can set prices better than a single central planner.

But for creative innovation, it still ultimately comes down to the individual mind.

(Via David Jilk.)