After watching Gary Hustwit’s doc Objectified, I became an admirer of IDEO and their approach to design. They’ve opened wide the doors of their process with OpenIDEO:
Whether this strikes you as inspiring or foolish depends on your opinion of creative collaboration. On the one hand, I love Wikipedia. On the other, OpenIDEO’s chances for success lay in an unspoken core competency, the same skill I see as vital to Richard Nash‘s forthcoming Cursor platform: community management.
Let’s take a closer look at IDEO’s approach:
“The concepts that rise to the top in the evaluation phase win, with the winning idea being available for development by the challenge’s sponsor.” How does the “winning” concept rise to the top? As any participant in sites like Authonomy knows, this system is rife with self-interest and often succumbs to a tragedy of the commons. The right community manager has to foster conversation and innovation at a high level while allowing for the democratization of user input AND a panoply of voices. The danger, I suspect, is that only the most inoffensive or vanilla ideas will get voted up the ladder.
I’ve long been impressed with the comment moderators at Boing Boing and the New York Times, obvious touchstones here. Do you know of other sites or communities that are doing this well? Am I just being too pessimistic?