What if society turned its back on the experts and scholars of the world and instead turned to the masses to harness the wisdom of humanity?
That’s right… let’s move away from the professors and physicians, lawyers and doctors, and instead embrace the 15 year old kid in Des Moines, Iowa, the out of work cashier in Pismo Beach, CA, the working house wife and retired plumber in Illinois and Tennessee, respectively.
Crazy, except for the fact that this is exactly what happens about 3 billion times every month when people from around the world turn to Wikipedia.
Jimmy Wales proved that it was possible to crowdsource knowledge from around the world in a manner that was free, open, efficient and relatively accurate. Sure, Wikipedia is not without its faults or critics, but it gets most things right most of the time, and it’s a valuable resource to the world.
So what if one could apply these principles to strategy development?
Strategy formation differs from the sort of content available on Wikipedia for at least two reasons:
Static vs. dynamic: Wikipedia content is chiefly historical in nature. Strategy is a forward-looking matter by nature. Hindsight is always 20/20, while forward-looking strategy formation requires a mix of data, intuition and judgment.
Open vs. custom: Historical content like the sort that makes up Wikipedia is typically very open in nature. It’s true that that a given event may have several interpretations, but for the most part, factual information is open—it applies equally from one reader to the next. Strategy, on the other hand, is highly customized. A competitive strategy for one firm may not apply to another, even if they are both in the same industry.
Still, crowdsourcing a firm’s strategy—at least in part—is viable under certain circumstances. Crowdsourcing strategy can be appropriate when the content being sourced is oriented towards:
Has your organization ever thought of crowdsourcing any elements of its strategy? How often does your firm turn to customers, employees or vendors to insights or new concept formation? To what extent does your firm use social media or other channels to socialize strategy as it’s being developed?
Is it possible your firm is missing out on some real opportunities? Is it possible it’s time to give us a call?
About the Kabardian Group: We help clients achieve profitable growth. Short, simple and to the point. Our clients include companies large and small and at every stage of their development, including start-ups. www.kabardian.com