Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Crowd sourcing, open innovation and open organization – 3

Posted in social networking and business, Web 2.0 marketing by Timothy Platt on March 14, 2010

I have posted twice so far specifically on crowd sourcing with

Crowd Sourcing, Open Innovation and Open Organization – 1 on what it is with examples of organizations that follow a crowd sourcing business model and
Crowd sourcing, open innovation and open organization – 2 on how this approach helps you to connect to the marketplace to identify and promote products and services that will work there.

This posting continues that with a discussion of crowd sourcing and viral marketing, and how they can synergistically connect and reinforce each other to create new value. And the key to that is in buy-in and developing a stronger more wide-spread sense of active participation.

In an earlier posting on viral marketing I wrote in part:

• “Viral marketing is all about giving people incentive to share word of you (n.b. and your business) through their networks and by giving them information they will find valuable to them to share.”

Crowd sourcing creates that sense of value and the incentive to share word by making your products and services their products and services too. At the same time, crowd sourcing brings the community into focus and into clearer definition for such sharing. If, by way of example, I were to go to and submit a tee shirt design, it is likely I would also tell my friends all about it – all of them. I would ask them to take a look at my design and to vote for it, and I would probably encourage at least some of them to buy one if my design were made into a shirt.

I would stand to make money off of this, but at least as importantly I would stand to gain status in my social circles and my networking community by being the guy whose shirt design was made into a salable product that others were buying and wearing.

This is not gaming the system or skewing what designs float to the top to be made into physical products that would go into the marketplace. This is how this process works, with viral marketing helping to complete the cycle of design to design selection to production to distribution and sale, and back to design again based on market feedback, and with further production of popular designs always a possibility.

• Here, name brands compete with the power of the social network and friend-brands.
• Crowd sourcing makes the friend-brand possible.
• Viral marketing makes crowd sourcing of all of those otherwise unknown brands work as a basis for a viable, ongoing business.

The next posting I will add on crowd sourcing will focus on open innovation per se and how this works in this open design and development, and shared buy-in context.

2 Responses

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  1. Olga Sasplugas/ said, on March 16, 2010 at 5:40 am

    Thanks for spreading the word out about the next Industrial revolution!

    From the Ponoko team, we are pretty proud to be part of it!



  2. Timothy Platt said, on March 16, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Hi Olga and thank you for your kind comment. I have to add that my eye caught on the label “Industrial Revolution.” The basic sentiment is correct but I am not sure the wording isn’t misleading, and more a holdover from an earlier model and vision of business and industry, and of the relationship between that and society as a whole. “Industrial” is in a fundamental sense separate from the surrounding communities it serves, and comes from a business model where businesses are innovatively and organizationally closed shops – terms like cottage industry not withstanding. What we are seeing is a breakdown of the traditional walls that both constrain and define business and industry, and Web 2.0 and crowd sourcing in their various expanding roles and forms are at the heart of this.

    OK, I know this is something of a quibble as to wording but I saw this as an opportunity to stress a point that I see as increasingly important. And I cite my Reexamining the Fundamentals series here as I do see us as facing and living through some very fundamental change. And with that I step back off my soap box. I will just add that language tends to lag as change happens and old metaphors have staying power.

    Tim Platt

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