I recently read an engaging book on the use of crowds and crowd-based intelligence for generating innovation. Shaun Abrahamson is one of the authors of Crowdstorm: The Future of Innovation, Ideas, and Problem Solving.
I have to admit that I am not a big believer in leveraging crowds for change—I think there is a fetish of the role that masses play in idea formation. I do believe that intelligence is distributed, but I’m an old-fashioned proponent of formal organizations.
But after reading Shaun’s book, I changed some of my stubborn views. The book is a systematic (and critical) appraisal of the role that crowds can play in diverse organizational and personal settings. I think Freakonomics readers might benefit from hearing Shaun’s insights.
Q. Aristotle said that every new idea builds on something earlier by hiding/transforming it. What’s old and what’s “new” in crowdstorming?
A. The main newness is the identification of patterns for finding and evaluating ideas. More specifically the identification of patterns that seem to deliver good or better results than if we were to working with smaller groups of people.