Having grilled some of the top minds in the software business, this installment of Testing the Limits will deviate slightly from the norm. With us this month is John Winsor – author, entrepreneur and crowdsourcing expert.
After a successful career as a journalist and magazine publisher, John founded Radar Communications in 1998, where he implemented a variety of academic-based market intelligence tools to help some of the country’s most progressive companies learn from key voices in their communities. Today, he offers that same advice as the VP/Executive Director of Strategy and Product Innovation at Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.
John has written extensively on the subject of crowdsourcing, having published the popular 2005 book Spark: Be more Innovative through Co-Creation. With his latest book Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves now hitting the shelves, John was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss the future of crowdsourcing, the premise of his new book, and the best (or worst) rock-climbing movies of all-time.
uTest: The hottest debate in crowdsourcing right now is the “fall” of traditional advertising or design firms and the “rise” of crowdsourced services. In your opinion, what does the future of crowdsourcing look like? Is the world ready for what you call the “digital tsunami?”
JW: Well the future of crowdsourcing is definitely bright, but there are still a lot of unanswered questions in people’s minds. Those who are skeptical of crowdsourcing question its ability to truly connect people. With crowdsourcing, you no longer have all of these professionals working together in the same building – that alone is often too much for some people to come to terms with. The idea of a crowd aggregating to solve business problems in a virtual environment is entirely new to most people, even though the underlying trend has been developing for years. The difference now is that it simply can’t be ignored.
uTest: So you see crowdsourcing as eventually obtaining mainstream acceptance?
JW: Absolutely. People are starting to see the full potential of this model, especially on the client side of the equation. There was a time when most people viewed crowdsourcing as chaos – like the inmates running the asylum, and that’s no longer the case for a growing number of people. So I think we’re just getting started.