Ubiquitous Crowd Sourcing for Design

September 14, 2009 - 2 Comments

“Crowd sourcing” — the idea that the greatest ideas come from amongst creative throngs of experts — has certainly come into its own. Companies have been at it several years now, and at Cisco we certainly have several of our own examples range from the I-Prize program to the interesting Heaven or Hell contest where consumers described their ideal (or nightmare) home technology dream.

But two crowd-sourcing examples last week grabbed my attention anew, because each had an unique twist and was accelerated by real-time factors.

The first is Adam Bogusky’s contest for a product logo for Brammo, the electric motorcycle folks. Bogusky opened up the contest to creatives around the world, with amazing results. More than 700 submissions, many of them excellent work. Conventional wisdom is that product logos need to be created by one or a few genius designers who immerse themselves in a brand problem and then iterate until they have the perfect logo (usually with a lot of executive intervention along the way). Bogusky’s recent crowdsourcing turned the model on its head, was very fast, and also, coincidentally, a lot less expensive than the traditional route since it was structured as a contest. And of course the contest got a lot of mention and retweets on Twitter.

The second interesting example is from the New York Times, where tech writer David Pogue posted a twitter call for ideas for better technology products (cell phones, cameras, etc) and was flooded with pretty darn good ideas, also via Twitter (read his summary in the Times). What makes this example interesting is that it is “crowdsourcing al fresco,” where ideas are thrown into a very open twitterverse for everyone to pick up on and add to — even people not initially aware of the original post or even with anything to gain, but still able to join the conversation after being alerted via retweets or their search mechanisms.

The Web made crowd sourcing possible. The Real-Time Web will make it ubiquitous.



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  1. Crowd sourcing is famous for a long time now usually used by media industries such as TV and News paper before the advent of internet.Now internet is reachable to everyone so each and every individual practising it because this is very inexpensive and efficent,time saving etc.

  2. Martin, great examples. I have always believed the most effective way to find new ideas is to work together in a crowd-sourcing model. My interactions on Twitter have only solidified this notion. Answers to questions, feedback to posts, viral articles…our wealth of real-time, real-world knowledge is all-encompassing these days. Have you come across Yahoo Answers””? It’s a great crowd-sourcing tool.”