Amazon and the Power of the Crowd

Posted by jartese on Feb 12, 2014 12:16:29 PM

By Stefan Lindegaard

There is much talk these days about crowdsourcing and how companies can tap into the power and diversity of the crowd. I will share my views and perspectives on some good examples as well as bad ones in a series of blog posts.

I have previously written about LEGO and now I would like to share some insights and views on Amazon and their efforts with crowdsourcing.

The Key Message: Crowdsourcing has the potential to change an entire industry.

The Case: When we talk about Amazon and crowdsourcing, some people will think of Amazon Mechanical Turk, which is a marketplace for work. However, a few years ago, Amazon also embraced crowdsourcing, when they entered the movie making industry.

At first, Amazon asked for feedback on which pilots that should turn into a real series, but as you can read in this article, Amazon Studios May Crowdsource Selection of Its Web TV Show Pilots, they also want to engage the crowd even earlier in the creative process.

On the FAQ page of Amazon Studios, you also learn that they have two distinctive characteristics of their process:

1. We have an open door for creators. There are a lot of great ideas in Hollywood, but not everyone can be there or get their work into the right hands. Amazon Studios is open to ideas from around the world. We are proud to have recognized talented writers and filmmakers in the US, Canada, the UK, China, Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic and other countries. Great ideas are out there.

2. We invite the audience in early. Amazon Studios seeks feedback about projects and ideas, even in their earliest stages. And to reach the most people, we try to shape stories into a form that is short, or visual, or both. We will test premises, storyboards, posters, videos, test movies, pilots, promos, and other formats to see what people think. Scripts are critically important in development, but they are just not accessible to most audiences.

The main crowdsourcing vehicle is a community-like site in which everyone with an interest in movies and TV-series can upload ideas as well as share their views on the ideas of others.

The lessons:

I like this approach because of the potential power that lies in the intersection of the insights, needs and requests from a crowd and the ability from creative individuals such as writers and directors (or corporate innovators in more traditional companies) to come up with something entirely new.

I mention this intersection because we need to remember that the crowd has a strong follower or herd mentality, which can hinder real creativity and innovation.

So the key here is to strike the right balance of the crowd and individual creative freedom and if companies – in this case Amazon Studios – can do this, then they have a great opportunity to get a much better success rate on their innovation and business development efforts.

If this happens, they might even have the potential to disrupt industries.

Don’t Miss! LEGO and the Power of the Crowd

Please join us on February 24th for a Webinar with Stefan for more perspective on The Power of the Crowd

Topics: Innovation Insights

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