Backlash Against Crowdsourcing, Co-Authoring and the rise of Participatory Production.

Bruce Nussbaum

As customers become producers and take more and more control of the design of their products and services, the revolution (and make no mistake, it is a serious change in power and that is a revolution) they are generating is bound to unnerve those on the losing end. Companies that "get it" and begin to integrate consumer input into the actual making of stuff and experiences will find enormous opportunites. Those that don't will lose and get mad.

Check out BuzzMachine to see what is already happening in business culture as consumers take power and become producers. The argument between BuzzMachine's Jeff Jarvis and a PR person ostensibly revolves around DELL's problems and it's attempts to right itself. But the fight is really about power and who gets it in the new world of participatory design and production.

Jeneanne Rae at Peer Insight has done some great research that we published in the first edition of IN-Inside Innovation, that shows that companies that base their business models on building great consumer experiences, usually with the consumers participating in the process, do significantly better in the stock market. This is one trend that companies can't fail to be part of.

For a really smart analysis of crowdsourcing, look at Paul Boutin's column on I&D.. It brings you right up to date with the major plays (MIT's Von Hippel and others) and the major thinking.