Two business trends are happening today, both accelerated due to the web — one is good, one not so. They are collaboration and crowdsourcing. Their shared intention is the production of good, efficient work.
In the case of collaboration the work is done by more than one party and web tools are used which put more information at the fingertips of participants. Many minds work together toward a goal, feeding off of one another. Smart companies like the Dachis Group in Austin are playing here; they call their product Social Business Design. Collaborative software has been around since the 90s but it was more about cursor sharing and application sharing than a delve into the culture of collaboration. The new view is about changing the tools and the process.
Crowdsourcing, on the other hand, is a project jump ball where participants compete against one another for a cash prize. It is often the antithesis of collaboration. The pay is poor (but not always) and the work product quite variable. In the case of a crowdsourced logo design, for instance, a number of art directors are briefed and the winning logo designer is awarded some Benjamins. (A good professional logo goes for thousands.) The losers click home. Crowdsourcing is leading to crowdsouring, but it still is a growing practice. In defense of crowdsourcing, at the high-end, with really talented players and a fair remuneration, it can work effectively.
Two trends to watch. Peace!