The concept of "crowdsourcing" - which has many varying definitions and connotations-has grown exponentially over the last few years as more and more companies are recognizing the "power of the crowd."
There are many examples of well-known brands putting the power of the crowd to work for them.
Take LEGO, for example.
Past example of their use of crowdsourcing include "MadeByMe" which essentially let fans create customized LEGO sets and "Mindstorms" which provided an outlet for all robot builders to create their very own LEGO robots.
Their latest use of crowdsourcing is called CUUSOO, which translated from Japanese means "wish." Fans are invited to create their own LEGO set and then get the word out on their own and solicit votes.
If a given project receives 10,000 votes, it will be sent into production, the creator will earn the right to say they created an actual LEGO set that's available for purchase worldwide and... they will also receive 1% of total net revenue from the product's sales.
Other examples of big brands using crowdsoucing include Dell, P&G, Kraft and BMW.
Then there's Life In A Day, the highly ambitious crowdsourced generated film from acclaimed producer Ridley Scott. In case you missed it or forgot about it, what he did was solicit videos from people all over the world on one day, July 24, 2010.
Scott and his team ended up getting about 80,000 individual clips, making up almost 4,500 hours of footage. They pared it all down to a 90 minute film. You may want to get comfortable if you plan on watching the entire film in one setting.
So crowdsourcing has indeed manifested itself across virtually ever industry in all parts of the globe.
Naturally there are now numerous events surrounding crowdsourcing including the recently announced Crowdsourcing Week - a week-long global event in Singapore in April 2013 designed to bring innovation and efficiency to organizations by leveraging the "power of the crowd" and created by Ludvik+Partners, a New York-based ad agency that itself was created on and operates on a crowdsourcing model.
"Crowdsourcing is key to the future of our organizations as technology is giving more and more power and capacity for people to pro-actively develop new ideas and structures for businesses," said Epirot Ludvik Nekaj, CEO and Founder of Ludvik+Partners. "We are confident that crowdsourcing is the only sustainable approach to innovation."
So, what are your thoughts on crowdsourcing?
Have you ever facilitated a crowdsourcing project or participated in one?
Would you attend a week-long event devoted solely to open innovation and crowdsourcing?
Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,Twitter, LinkedIn or his website.