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Following the Crowd to Innovation?

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“The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”
— Elbert Hubbard

Given the current pace of innovation, this statement certainly rings true. The amazing thing is that it’s from the late 18th century! Clearly everything is relative, but it can’t be argued that the very nature of the innovation process is changing dramatically.

Technology and social networking have given rise to new pathways to “new”. “Crowdsourcing” and “crowdfunding” are spurring new products and features, new companies and even solutions to global health challenges. As author Stefan Lundegaard puts it, “Companies have a different perspective on innovation where sharing is the new norm.” Open collaboration is more often now seen as a viable route to success.

Fast-growing sites like Quirky (fostering new product inventions), Kickstarter (generating funding for creative projects) and Indiegogo (the leading international crowdfunding platform) are fueling innovation at a dizzying rate. Kickstarter alone has funded over 80,000 projects totaling in excess of $40 million dollars. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is crowdsourcing worldwide health solutions from plumbing-free toilets to next-generation condoms.

How about some examples you say? Check out http://econsultancy.com/us/blog/62504-eight-brands-that-crowdsourced-marketing-and-product-ideas

Following the crowd has traditionally been thought of as the antithesis of innovation. I guess it’s time we rethink the meaning of the phrase. Don’t look now, something new is gaining on you.