The creation of Linux was perhaps one of the most democratizing events in the world of business. Linux creator Linus Torvalds himself asked programmers worldwide to submit and work on codes for Linux platform.It led to the creation of an open source platform where anyone can contribute code and become part of the process. But what it also resulted in is the first successful practical application of the process of collective wisdom. Today Linux is believed to be one of the fastest growing OS platforms in the world. That is the power of Collective wisdom !
Now the question is what exactly is collective wisdom ?
Let us consider you run an enterprise E and about to bring out a path-breaking product P. There has to be a lot of investment in R&D for the enterprise to make which in turn means lots of costs. It is quite possible that someone half way across the globe has already worked out a solution for the technology needed but is using it for a different purpose. All you need to do is reach him. It is here that the power of collective wisdom comes to effect.
It has the following advantages over traditional R&D:
1.Cost: The cost incurred in this method is far less than that incurred from in-house R&D.
2.Greater Expertise: It is quite possible that in this search you might come across a talent whom you would like to be a part of your enterprise team. Thus it serves as a talent hunt of sorts thereby bringing greater expertise to your team.
3. Unconventional Solutions: There is a fair bit of chance that you will come across a solution which is totally unconventional – A solution that can can take your stocks shoot up in the long run !
There are quite a few global giants including FMCG major P&G which manages a major chunk of its development program through this process. It has often been criticized as another name for outsourcing however the corporates have traditionally defended it by saying rather than giving their ideas( which happens in out sourcing) they are simply sourcing the best ideas from across the globe.
Even in the coding sphere, TopCoder does precisely the same thing. IT Majors like Microsoft submit projects to it which is then coded by members of TopCoder in return for recognition and cash prizes running as high $100,000 in some cases. All the competitions happen in the form of matches where members compete and also chat live with each other.
If we look at the contests for business ideas- It also works on the same principle. The idea is simple: Getting the best minds to work together for you in addition to the wave of new radical ideas some of which are a cut above the rest. Bottom line: “No one is as smart as everyone “. Question is : Are you smart enough to implement it in your office team?