DuetsBlog Collaborations in Creativity & the Law

The Crowd Versus the Dream Team

Posted in Guest Bloggers

—Aaron Keller, Managing Principal at Capsule

This is a rant. Beware and hide your eyes if your ears turn red.

Why a rant? Because I’m wondering when average became great. For that matter, when did average become good? I’m not sure, but it seems like that’s what we’re striving for today: average.

Let me explain using that wonderful statistics visual that likely brings a cold sweat to you and many others: the bell curve. Now overlay this idea to the new trend of crowdsourcing your creative work – naming, identity, web site design, packaging, fashion, whatever creative idea or concept you need.

What do you get when you crowdsource? You get the collective creative ideas of the crowd. Also known as the center of the bell curve. The average. Well, it is statistically speaking the median. You get the idea.

Now what do you get when you hire the dream team? A crew, a team or a group of talented people who collectively immerse themselves in your brand, objectives and philosophy. You get ideas that come from the edge of the bell curve, because when you get a group of creative people together, average just doesn’t do it. We’re highly competitive and driven to create for recognition. The result is more unique, less average and likely more protectable as intellectual property.

So, the crowd versus the dream team. The battle of the century.

The crowd gets ideas from the surrounding creative community. Essentially, it follows the dream team working the fringe. For instance, crowdsourced logos sometimes come from logo sites (designed two or three years earlier) or books (created three to five years earlier) where logos are original art, properly vetted and trademarked. Other crowdsourced ideas come from similar places, where the sourced idea is easy, fast and appropriate for the price (a coupla hundred bucks).

Why is this so cheap? What’s the hidden cost in this equation?

Ask a lawyer what happens if you infringe someone’s intellectual property. The cost will impress you (not in a good way) and the advice will be free. The results will mean you spend a bit more up front to source your ideas from places where the law is understood and respected.

Follow the crowd if you will, but source from the dream team. Not only is it much more fiscally responsible, it will reward you with real innovation and creativity.

  • Randall Hull

    Couldn’t agree more. Paul Rand would hardly consider posting his design work for approval and selection by whomever decides to drop by and offer an opinion. Sounds like an “un-focus group” to me.

  • Yvette

    You’re right Randall, I think Paul Rand would turn in his grave.

  • You have fundamentally misunderstood crowdsourcing here. It has nothing to do with finding ‘the average.’