Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Crowdsourcing has, virtually overnight, generated huge buzz, enthusiasm, and fear. It's the application of the open-source idea to any field outside of software, taking a function performed by people in an organization, such as reporting done by journalists, research and product development by scientists, or design of a T-shirt, for example, and, in effect, "outsourcing" it through an open-air broadcast on the Internet. Crowdsourcing has already had a huge impact on big companies like Procter & Gamble, as well as start-ups like, which rapidly became the third largest T-shirt maker in the United States. The fuel sparking the crowdsourcing flame is the potent combination of more highly educated people working in fields other than those in which they were trained (think of the art historian peddling financial advice at Merrill Lynch) with the greatest mechanism for distributing knowledge and information the world has ever seen: the Internet.

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