Crowdsourcing Charlene Li’s new book

Conventional wisdom says that you cannot write a book by committee.  Charlene Li of Altimeter Group is trying to dispel that idea, to some degree.

As she’s researched and written her forthcoming book Open, Charlene has relied on her blog and Twitter account to collect ideas such as the title of her book.  It looks like her approach is to ask very targeted questions (“international examples of ‘open’ organizations and leaders needed”) to meet a need, which I suspect sparks better input than open-ended queries.

Crowdsourcing is nothing new, but I believe thought leaders like Charlene are taking the right approach in reaching out to readers and followers for ideas.  At the least, the very act of soliciting input raises visibility for her book in the early going, and I’d like to think that even rejected ideas might prove useful for another endeavor down the road.

Firms like Forrester are looking at ways to crowdsource their research.  The Forresters of the world (correctly) take a careful, measured approach, assessing whether it’s possible to actually create a valid sample through, say, the Twitter universe.

What’s the best example of crowdsourcing you’ve seen in the development of thought leadership?

Straight talk from Razorfish Chairman Clark Kokich

Props to Razorfish chairman Clark Kokich for launching his blog, “Something to Think About.”  You should care about this one if:

  • You want a no-BS perspective on marketing from an executive who has been there, done that.
  • You’re tired of blogs from senior executives that have been so carefully vetted that they say nothing.
  • You care what one of the leaders in our industry thinks about the future of marketing based on real-world experiences with my employer, Razorfish.

I especially like his recent post, “It’s Time to Embrace Stupidity,” in which he acknowledges that marketers need to get comfortable making mistakes in a world transformed by digital.  How many senior executives are willing to say that?

Check it out, and please let Clark know what you think.

Auto shopping in 3-D

Razorfish operations in Germany, known as Neue Digitale/Razorfish, have launched the first real-time 3-D configurator for Microsoft Surface — which makes it possible for multiple customers to design their own Audi A4 automobile together.  Consumers can collaborate to design their own car, including adjusting the paint finish and selecting packaging components.  The final configuration is projected on to a high-definition display.

This an experience best seen, not explained — so have fun with the video above.

Razorfish (my employer) and our global network have been employing touch-based environments in industries such as retail and automotive for quite some time.  We strive to show how the art of branding is about building great consumer experiences, not plastering one-way messages.  Check out the Razorfish Emerging Experiences blog for more examples including the Razorfashion application.