Crowdsourcing vs staffsourcing

Nowadays every organization seems to be tempted by crowdsourcing, this idea of outsourcing part of your processes (creation, promotion, conception) to the public using new technologies. It is surely appealing, and has worked for all different kind of companies like P&G or La Fraise.

But two of the most innovative and successful companies of our time use a totally opposite approach, actually hiding their products from the public eyes as long as they can. I am of course talking about Apple (who is regularly suing anybody talking about products before their official launch) and Google (who rarely speaks about a product before releasing it).

This shows there are ways to survive and try to be smarter than the masses, as “non-web2” as this sentence might sound. Apple does it with common sense and design, Google by relying on workers who are usually the earliest of early adopters. As usual with these tech trends (2005: blogs, 2006: second life, 2007: communities, crowdsourcing) there is no automatic answer, each situation demands a different answer as disappointing as it sounds.

I am an entrepreneur and researcher passionate about understanding the social implications of digital technologies.
  1. On last days Sunrise event by Connecta, there was a similar discussion. And I tend to agree with you – real breaktrhough ideas may for most cases not come from the crowd. As one of the attendees said “I bet electricity wasn’t invented by the crowds..” And this is true for most major inventions through out time.

    But most companies arn’t out developing the next invention of all time – they are simply trying to jumpstart the creative process by the simple princip of more ideas are better than few. Innovation centers like IDEO and The Ideafactory works by thees simple rules as well, developing everything from hairdryers to the next cool web2.x app.

    Infact here in Denmark, companies like are also providing tools for such crowd wishdom…

  2. Good point. There is a lot of value in using the crowds to “augment” an idea.

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