Jul 20, 2006

The most efficient networks link to the broadest range of info, knowledge, and experience

I was introduced to the term crowdsourcing a few days ago and am curious about it. Cambrian House does it with ideas, design and programming, rewarding the best of the submitted content with a percentage of the royalties the end product brings. But crowdwourcing can extend to many things, so it appears from Wired's article on the subject, including photography (istockphoto), tv (Web junk 20) and science (Innocentive).This paragraph helped me understand the scientific reasoning behind the practice:

...notes Karim Lakhani, a lecturer in technology and innovation at MIT...“The strength of a network... is exactly the diversity of intellectual background,” he says. Lakhani and his three coauthors surveyed 166 problems posted to InnoCentive (a company using a network of individuals from disporate backgrounds to solve complex problems on their own) from 26 different firms. “We actually found the odds of a solver’s success increased in fields in which they had no formal expertise,” Lakhani says. He has put his finger on a central tenet of network theory, what pioneering sociologist Mark Granovetter describes as “the strength of weak ties.” The most efficient networks are those that link to the broadest range of information, knowledge, and experience.

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