Are crowds always wise: qualifying your crowd

The ever thoughtful David Pollard has an excellent article on the Wisdom of Crowds versus the Wisdom of Witch Doctors (Consultants and Senior Management) and how to tell the difference. By Paul Sweeney.


In the article Pollard outlines where crowds and experts might be best suited to particular types of problems, or stages of problem. All in all, pretty standard mangement theory.

What has changed over the years is our ability to "source crowds", poll opinion, and gather feedback.

For me one of the key questions arising from this article is "how can companies build qualified crowds", and in fact, is this capability in itself an key organisational competence?

Given that many of today’s Web 2.0 companies depend upon rapid development and feedback cycles from early adopters how do they know whether their 'crowds' are representative of the requirements of the vast majority of their actual enduser target audiences?

Perhaps we should develop tools to profile our 'crowd" before we put down some baseline strategic assumptions about our products or services.

In many ways we, as management and as companies, have the world ‘pre-interpreted’ and ‘pre-digested’ for us by our own histories, our teams experiences, and many other structural aspects of organisational behavour.

Perhaps in the "open world" of the internet, many companies and teams are unwittingly singing to a choir of their own choosing?

Paul Sweeney is European Marketing Director at voicesage and blogs at YOU'VE BEEN NOTICED

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