Idea power from the people is a great article as both an introduction to crowdsourcing and a discussion of the opportunities and problems it poses for companies.
Crowdsourcing could not only have an impact on how products are created but how they evolve. Businesses may become less reliant on focus groups or other forms of traditional market research because those using the products are also involved in their conception.
Most conceptions of crowdsourcing would believe that the crowd creates a product for consumption by the masses as with Threadless. A more evolved example is the market testing performed by Cambrian House which improves the quality of a product before release to the masses.
Crowdsourcing is not likely to be pursued in isolation by many firms. Just as companies that outsource everything face management nightmares and companies that do everything internally grapple with high costs, this is a model to be used in moderation.
Many players at the moment could be described as ‘pure crowdsourcing’ where the whole focus of the company is based around a crowdsourced product. This, as suggested, may not always be suitable. An organisation would never have to take the decision to be crowdsourced or not, but may choose to incorporate crowdsourcing.
The article closes with thoughts of how companies will adopt to feedback from a crowd, which may be a new experience for many.