Co-Creation: When the Crowd goes Beyond the Experts


[This post originally written for and published at Ledface’s Blog]

Historically, most organizations in our society (governments, armies, companies) structure themselves in a hierarchy, with knowledge and power concentrated at the top and segmented visibility of smaller decomposed tasks distributed along its base.

Crowdsourcing technology is enabling less structured and specialized organizations  to solve complex knowledge problems competitively. It is not a cheap way to outsource work to volunteers. When done right, it is an entire new form of knowledge production with the potential to revolutionize our approach to solving simple and complex problems.

Knowledge has a long tail

The Open Source Software Community and the volunteers of Wikipedia show that in at least some knowledge domains, unstructured crowds of regular people produce results that are competitive with hierarchical organization of professional experts (professional software teams, the Phd’s of Encyclopedia Britannica).

To understand how that happens, let’s look at how knowledge distributes among a population (picture above). “Long Tail” refers to a statistical property of a distribution where its “tail” is larger than its “head”.

The group at the head of the curve (“experts”) accumulates personal knowledge that is individually higher than the average person. But the total knowledge held by the experts is still relatively small compared to the knowledge held by the broader population.

Our current organizations are very efficient expressing the knowledge of experts at the top of the pyramid or at the head of segmented functional groups, but it fails to capture the knowledge at the base. There are good reasons why they evolved that way…

The Medium is the Message

The history of human civilization is tightly connected with our ability to use language to organize groups to tackle complex problems that are beyond the abilities of a single person.

The most effective way to exchange ideas with other people is through rich direct interaction face-to-face. But because it is difficult to have that kind of interaction with a large number of people, most large organizations have relied primarily on the printed word (books, documents, memos, email messages) to collaborate.

The print medium, being unidirectional, is particularly good at transferring knowledge from someone who knows more (“expert”) to a number of people who know less. The predominance of print led to the evolution of highly specialized and hierarchical organizations, where experts accumulate knowledge in narrow functional fields and lead a large group of less knowledgeable people.

In this environment, collective intelligence does not have channels of expression. The voice of the expert is the voice of knowledge.

Crowdsourcing Technology

Digital technologies, the Internet and Social Media are starting to provide a communication medium that emulates some of the characteristics of rich, direct interaction. It is real-time (not linear), it links peer-t0-peer (not hierarchically), and it is interactive.

So, if that is true, why don’t we see the effects of co-creation emerge in the most popular social (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) and Q&A websites (like Quora or Yahoo Answers)?

The reason is that we are still using the new medium as we used the old one. Quora is still dominated by the individual desire of owning the truth and position as an expert. True co-creation requires collaboration, not ego, as the driving force from the process of expressing collective knowledge.

Also, we are already using medium interactivity, but not yet created the mechanisms behind the interaction to allow for true co-creation and collective intelligence to emerge and be expressed. That back-end infrastructure is still emerging in the form of new Crowdsourcing Technology.

Conclusion

In domains being affected earlier by the digital medium, (e.g. software development and publishing), the long tail of knowledge held by the unstructured crowd is now able to express itself in ways that are competitive with hierarchical organizations.

As Crowdsourcing technologies evolve and spread over other domains, more and more complex problems can be tackled using a new form of human organization.

We will be able to solve problems, not by analytically decomposing big problems into smaller ones, but by presenting the complex problem to the collective intelligence and let it holistically express the solution.

Marcio Saito’s (@Marcio_Saito) interest in Collaboration and Co-Creation originates in his early involvement with the Open Source Software community in the early 90’s. He writes about Social Media and Collective Intelligence and is an advisor to Ledface, a startup using Crowdsourcing to create a new kind of Intelligence.
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Nigerian Scammers Must Adapt to Social Media or Die


Nigerian scammers, offer millions of dollars and get laughed at.

Facebook scammers, offer Cheesecake Factory vouchers and get otherwise smart people to fall for it.

Nigerian scammers need to adapt to Social Media…


Dear Sir:

My name is Mouhlac Hakzin, I am the nephew of a famous Nigerian politician who passed away in an airplane crasch last month.I have just found that there were two $50 (fifty dollar) Chese Cake Factory vouchers and 2 (two) Southwest Airlines ticket in his underwear drawer. His wife has no idea they were there, I am sure.

I have searched the Internet and found you to be a good candidate I can trust with total confidence. I appreciate your integrity and write this letter to ask you to help me to redeeme the vouchers.

In exchange for your services, I will share the Cheesecake dinner desert with you and give you the peanut bags from the Southwest flight.

In order to complete this transaction, I kindly request that you give me your Facebook account details and post “Free Tickets” to your Facebook page (this step is very important, as we want only your close friends to know about this deal).

Mr. Mouhlac Hakzin
Special Commisioner- Department of finance
Lagos, Nigeria

3 fatores para Falar como Gente nas Mídias Sociais


[Esse artigo foi escrito para publicação em itweb.com.br]

A melhor linguagem para expressar nossas idéias depende do canal de comunicação utilizado. A mensagem que funciona no catálogo de produtos, pode não ser a melhor para um comercial de televisão.

Qualquer um em marketing sabe disso, não é mesmo? A verdade surpreendente é que não. Toda vez que uma nova mídia aparece, nós tentamos usá-la com conteúdo da mídia anterior.

Os primeiros jornais falados na televisão apresentavam locutores lendo os jornais do dia em frente da câmera. Os websites da década de 90 pareciam folhetos online. A transição para mídia social não é excessão.

A Mídia Social é uma Conversa

Em meu post anterior “7 Ações de Mídia Social para quem tem mais o que fazer”, listamos como a ação número 1 “Falar como Gente”.

A forma mais efetiva de se comunicar com outras pessoas é através da interação direta no mundo real. Mas porque é difícil se ter esse tipo de interação com um grande número de pessoas simultaneamente, o Marketing usa as mídias de comunicação de massa ( jornais, revistas, televisão e, mais recentemente, email e websites).

Essas mídias, sendo uni-direcionais e não interativas, são particularmente eficientes para transferir mensagens de alguém mais informado para a massa desinformada. Não há interação, então as mensagens tem que ser formatadas para influenciar e serem absorvidas pela audiência sem questionamento.

A mídia social, por outro lado, é aberta a participação, permite comunicação entre membros da audiência sem mediação, e emula algumas características da interação direta, pessoal.

Fale como gente ou fale sozinho

Consumidores hoje tem acesso a informação e entendem os mecanismos de marketing. Eles perderam a inocência que permitia a manipulação através da formatação da mensagem ou a utilização dos métodos tradicionais de influência.

Dizer que um produto que “tem a mais alta performance do mercado” é quase padrão na linguagem de marketing tradicional, mas essa afirmação é fácilmente desmentida na comparação com competidores em sites de compra, fóruns especializados, ou ambientes onde clientes dão nota para os produtos que usam.

Um filme não decola simplesmente convencendo o crítico de cinema a elogiar na coluna do jornal de domingo, se o público não gostar e der 5 estrelas nos sites de opinião. A opinião de um analista de mercado ou a associação da marca com uma celebridade também estão perdendo a capacidade de influenciar consumidores.

Consumidores ganham mais poder nas mídias sociais, podem influenciar outros consumidores. Esse poder pode ser bom ou ruim para as empresas. Nos próximos posts nesse blog, vamos analizar vários aspectos e recomendar estratégias para ter sucesso com mídias sociais.

Mas o primeiro passo é ajustar a linguagem. Nas Mídias Sociais, o Marketing precisa abandonar o “marketing-speak” e adotar uma linguagem:

  • Informal – Mais próxima da linguagem falada
  • Aberta –  Que assume e permite a participação da audiência
  • Transparente – Diga os fatos como eles são

Compare:

  • Nossos automóveis usam tecnologia “state-of-art” VHT, desenvolvida por técnicos especializados na Alemanha para oferecer o mais alto nível de desempenho do mercado. Em testes do instituto 4 Calotas, superamos o competidor A em torque e aceleração e batemos o competidor B em consumo de combustivel o que mostra indiscutivelmente que temos o melhor carro do mundo. Nossos clientes são pessoas inteligentes, de alta-classe e sucesso na vida. Veja o depoimento do nosso cliente escolhido-a-dedo. A revista auto-carro deu nota 9! Você não pode deixar de comprar!
  • Nossos carros usam um motor Alemão que oferece um bom compromisso de velocidade e economia. Confira os comentários de todos os clientes que compraram o carro no ano passado em nossa página no Facebook. Veja comparação com competidores A e B no site da revista auto-carro. Ligue e faça um test-drive.

Monarch Butterflies – Santa Cruz, CA


Every year during winter time, the Monarch butterflies migrate from Northern areas and congregate around the exact same branches of Eucalyptus trees near Natural Bridges Beach in Santa Cruz, CA.

The Monarches are one of the longest-lived butterfly species, with some living up to 12 months.

The fact that they live for about a year means that the butterflies that come back next year won’t be the same individuals. They will be their descendants, but will still gather around the same branches, on the same trees, on the same beach in Santa Cruz.