I posted some thoughts about crowd sourced creativity on April 10th, and mentioned all of the reasons why I thought it was a bad, no a really bad, trend for both designers and clients. But it keeps cropping up in the press.
In fact there is an article in Business Week online this week by John Winsor of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.
I can’t help but wonder where this is taking the design industry. We seem to be entering a period where the traditions of the design marketplace are, at a minimum, being redefined around the edges.
But we may be facing much more. Look at how the music industry has already been revolutionized by iTunes, book publishing is in the midst of being altered by Kindle, traditional newspapers are quickly becoming print dinosaurs, operating systems like Linux and others are free and open source.
Yet you have most thoughtful members of our industry, like the AIGA, arguing that work on spec is a bad bad thing.
As John Winsor says at the end of his article, “The question for creative agencies is whether they can wake up, react to what’s going on, engage the crowd, and make themselves a part of the new reality.”
But it seems to me that perhaps the definition of a creative agency, a traditional place of collective thought, developing consistently great work for clients, may be at risk. There must be lessons from musicians, writers, newspapers, record labels, book publishers, etc. that we need to learn, and fast.