As it seems that crowdsourcing is becoming the new buzzword in business circles, it might be useful to stress it difference with what we call peer production.
Peer to peer is the relational dynamic at work in distributed networks, with the latter having as requirements the freedom of agents to engage in cooperation.
Peer production is also defined by:
– voluntary engagement
– a production process under the control of the participants
– universal access property regimes
– there is no direct link between input and output (non-reciprocal character of peer production), i.e. there can be no payment directly linked to the production.
Most corporate-driven crowdsourcing will only apply the very first principle, i.e. voluntary engagement; they will aim to drive the production process; and the results will be proprietary. Finally, they will introduce payment or Revenue Sharing schemes. In terms of the hierarchy of engagement, crowdsourcing is more akin to swarming than to the collective intelligence of an intentional community.
Of course, crowdsourcing remains an important trend, and one that will profoundly restructure the economic environment.
We would like to point our readers to two interesting analytical approaches to crowdsourcing.
One is an extensive study of corporate strategies by Xavier Comtesse, who coins this model the direct economy, and we are excerpting his study as Book of the Week on our French blog.
In English, we recommend the interesting model by a Finnish researcher, called the FLIRT Model of Crowdsourcing.