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Crowdsourcing continued…

10th April 09

One week into our Crowdspring experiment and I’ve been pointed to some thoughtful debates on the subject as well as those whose tone resembles an angry mob.

From the latter crowd I keep hearing this analogy that using Crowdspring is akin to outsourcing (complete with images of dank foreign sweatshops). If were going to trade in metaphors, I would counter by labeling this crowd protectionist. (Picture angry immigration opponents rallying to protect US jobs they probably don’t want in the first place.)

This isn’t outsourcing and this isn’t bootlegging. This is simply about an expanded marketplace. And as long as your product is best-in-market, you’ll always have best-in-market work at your door.

One last thing I need to note as some are accusing us of being exploitive and that bothers me greatly. (MORE BELOW)

For BBH Labs, this is definitely not about undercutting rates. The easier thing for us to do would have been to call on a number of established designers we’ve worked with or simply kept the project inhouse with our more than fantastic design team. But exploring new approaches is why we have “Lab” in our title.

Now, that said, one week into the process, I’m having one or two issues.

First, many of the designs being presented seem to be slapped together without much care or thought. As a client, it is taking considerable time to filter through, which adds a cost to the bottom line of my company. Our initial interest in Crowdspring is an attempt to find young talent, so I accept this process as more efficient than if we had to conduct portfolio reviews in the analog world.

The bigger issue I have is fair remuneration. The Crowdspring design process is fully transparent and this is great. When I comment on my likes and dislikes regarding a specific design, other designers take note and follow suit, sometimes, very literally, borrowing the basic typography of one designer and then building off it. Fantastic from the client’s perspective: I’m getting the best of the individual and the best of the crowd – all for one price! Now the problem is that I can only award one person the job and it isn’t fair for me to reward that person 100% for work that may have been built off another person’s work.

Hence my current conundrum halfway to deadline.

I realize Crowdspring is only eight months old and the online opensource community not much older. But when money is on the table, a winner-take-all approach doesn’t seem to hold true to the process.

Maybe this is a problem that Crowdspring with the help of the design community can come together to help solve?

The experiment continues. Have a great weekend.

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