Thursday, May 08, 2008

Most of the smart people work elsewhere

Bill Joy (a founder of Sun Microsystems) is attributed to a version of the headline phrase.

Bill Joy

I think he was referring to, as we like to say in the Web 2pointWhatever world, 'crowdsourcing' or in code space as 'open source'.

Though you can certainly see examples of crowdsourcing at work in examples as previously posted ( here ) it turns out that the quote has power for what it implies: that no matter how smart you or your institution are, the good ideas are hard to come by day in and day out...and while once upon a time it was difficult to bring groups of dispersed people together to generate good ideas for solving a problem, the interwebs is here now.

As marketers, we might even find that the always-on, interconnected world enables us to engage (shudder!) our customers in the process of ideas...Product designers, engineers, and market researchers are figuring it out (see Nokia, Dell and even Chrysler). Marketers and advertising agencies--the notorious Big Idea people--might find that the biggest and bestest ideas are out there waiting for them...Fifty-plus years after McCluhan predicted it (though using the wrong tool):

In the 1950's Marshall McLuhan proposed a reality television show in which corporations would present their major problems to a mass audience. "For every expert idea that arises inside an organization," McLuhan advised executives, "the public has a thousand better ideas than you ever heard of."

Tapping into those ideas in the new millenium requires only a willingness to ask and to listen...the means are at hand.

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