Perception – It devalues creativity. It lacks cohesive planning. It will fail so many times that clients will soon forget about it.
Reality – It devalues creativity. It lacks cohesive planning. It will fail most of the time, but it is so cheap and quick that repeatedly cracking the whip isn’t a huge gamble, leading to clients developing a ‘let’s give it one more run’ approach until the deadline hits.
The creative industry needs to acknowledge that crowdsourcing isn’t going to disappear. It’s the new form of internship for young fresh-faced creatives. The internet has devalued many things over the last 10 years, music, film, the majority of physical products, information, and the next industry to take a hit is creativity.
Sourcing Flickr images is quicker, easier and often offers greater variety than many image stock providers. Creativity is in danger of becoming the next great talent to face the wrath of the internet.
As a side note, alongside the increase in chaotic crowdsourced projects, I also expect to see agencies of freelance creative professionals that spring up for individual projects and then disband become common place in the next few years. This is becoming an increasingly simple hole to fill with the growth of online collaborative tools (Google Wave may not be quite there, but somebody will get it right) allowing talent from around the world to easily come together.
Consequently, agencies need to be proactive in selling more than just their creativity, they need to sell their culture. Agencies need to have an approach that stands out and offers something more than an ad hoc group of talented, organised individuals. Producing strong pitch material doesn’t indicate that an agency offers value as a long-term marketing partner. Instead, this is achieved by offering as much, if not more value to existing clients as is offered to potential clients. Think of them as old friends.
This thought is along the same lines as Michael Lebowitz, CEO at Big Spaceship. He may well have his idea slightly shot down in this video, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong.