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by The Architect October 10, 2007

The Wisdom of Crowds - James SurowieckiFrom Shaping Tomorrow, I learn this new word, which I love: Crowdsourcing. Inspired by the book The Wisdom of Crowds, of course. Here's what it means, according to the Shaping Tomorrow crew:

We all know something

We all have unique ideas. We can all contribute to our futures. And, though as individuals we might be blind to tomorrow, collectively we can see much of what is coming.

Stakeholder views

We have learned from direct experience that companies miss the most obvious source of information on how the future will be different; their stakeholders. An organisation’s people, its suppliers and customers often have deep insights into many aspects of the future that management ignores. Tapping this source is easy and fast using tightly framed questions about how the future will be different and what you should be doing about it."

I think 'Crowdsourcing' is a vital horizon-widening concept that leaders need to embrace as part of their decision-making. The idea that leaders 'make decisions' and that is a separate, lonely activity that happens behind closed doors is out-dated, it seems to me. Or at least simplistic. Yes, there are some decisions you need to take alone, but far more often, as James Surowiecki says in The Wisdom of Crowds "The more important a decision, the more important it is that it not be left in the hands of a single person".

Crowdsourcing helps make sure ideas and decisions are rooted in a common reality, not just your own. Phil Dourado, disguised as The Architect