Collaborative Innovation: Best Left to Pro-Ams or Diverse Crowds?By Ian Schulte October 29, 2009
Charles Leadbeater is a researcher and innovation consultant at the London think tank, Demos. He made a considerable splash with his 2004 essay, “The Pro-Am Revolution,” followed up by an increasingly relevant TED talk on “amateur” innovation in 2005.
“Traditionally, ‘the inventor knows what the invention is for…’”
In Leadbeater’s addition to the crowdsourcing/collective innovation dialogue, he posits that a very specific group of individuals – Pro-Ams – are a pronounced and powerful force for bottom-up innovation.
“Pro-Am” describes skilled enthusiasts who, though they derive little or no money from their avocations, apply professional standards (and effort) to their particular pastimes (whether mountain biking, software coding, or anything in between).
Below is Leadbetter’s compelling and thoughtful talk–though I was left wondering when (or if, or in which situations) Pro-Ams are more effective than a diverse crowd in the distributed innovation process.
“… but, more & more, this will be worked out, not in advance, but through use & collaboration.”
Header image courtesy of foxspain’s flickr, (cc) some rights reserved.