Claudia Bernett, from Frog Design, writes about a new trend in the digital product’s development process where companies and consumers are coming together in a new kind of collaboration that is radically reshaping the business landscape.
She argues that emerging forms of social computing are revolutionizing the way we interact, socialise, and consume – and redefining the business of product innovation.
Claudia Bernett presents a number of success stories of our time, like Google, Nike, Amazon, BBC, Ebay, and MySpace, featuring companies that leverage grassroots systems of organisation, classification, and even recommendation to shape digital product form, function, and identity. In this way they enable a new type of user participation in digital products which carries with it democratic values that establish a new breed of trust between a company and its consumers. Those companies that foster trust by engaging the participation of their consumers will lead industry innovation, shape the digital marketplace, and meet with resounding, even groundbreaking, success.
Inspired from “The Wisdom of Crowds” book, where James Surowiecki envisions a group of “self-interested” people at work on the same problem; “instead of trying to direct their efforts from the top down,” he suggests, “their collective solution is likely to be better than any other solution you could come up with”, Claudia Bernett argue that:
Therein lies the future, where companies and consumers comprise the crowd. And they’re not just solving problems; they are imagining the previously unimaginable. This new kind of collaboration is just the start of a monumental shift in digital innovation. It is driving a powerful new form of trust binding companies and their consumers, and is fast becoming a critical factor for companies determined to ride the wave of high-speed technological evolution and survive fierce competition. The winners will foster trust by effectively engaging and harnessing the power of their users; they will drive business innovation, thrive commercially, and find themselves defining the future itself – where, how, and with what we work and play.