Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crowdsourcing Wine

Ever heard the term "crowdsourcing"? If you haven't check it out! It is a great idea, perfect for the "social networker" in all of us - either as a producer looking to create new products, or a consumer eager to get involved in shaping new solutions.

From Wikipedia:
Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine an algorithm or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data (see also citizen science).

The term has become popular with business authors and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals. However, both the term and its underlying business models have attracted controversy and criticism.

There are loads of examples of crowdsourcing happening around the world, taking full advantage of the benefits of social networks to get the word out, and involve lots of individuals all over the world.

I came across this example of a crowdsourced cafe today, called Elements.

Members share ideas of what to call the project, choose its logo, what to serve, why, how to communicate its values - even what those values are. All the while, this group is creating a loyal community that will hopefully turn into loyal customers in future.

So, who is doing this in wine?

You could argue that the clever chaps over at Crushpad have started this sort of thing, allowing groups of virtual winemakers to create their own wines, from choice of grapes and how to 'make' the wines, all the way through to packaging design.

These wines are, therefore, available only in limited quantities and are expensive. I should admit I'm involved in one Crushpad group being run by Tim Elliott but, in an example of the limitations of taking these virtual projects into the 'real world' it may be legally impossible, and financially impractical, for me to ever actually drink this wine!

But, are any of the big brands in the wine world working on something like this? It would seem ideal territory. Who knows, maybe we'll hear something exciting in the not too distant future.


With thanks to Springwise for the tip about Elements

5 comments:

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Brilliant idea.

taking a task traditionally performed by an employee and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call.

Sack your staff and get a gullible public to do the job free of charge.

And the great thing is, the more employees that are made redundant then the more people there are in the "undefined, generally large group of people" sitting around without anything else to do all day.

I bet the f***ers who are pushing this crap are pulling high consultancy fees and not for one moment suggesting that they give their time foc.

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

I should admit I'm involved in one Crushpad group being run by Tim Elliott but, it may be .... financially impractical, for me to ever actually drink this wine!

Then why are you doing it? If they paid you, you maybe could afford the wine.

Robert McIntosh said...

Wow! That's cynical even for Mr Pinotage! :)

The point is not to take away jobs, but to skip an intermediary step of trying to guess what consumers want and adjust over time, but to ask them directly. It is a massive version of a focus group.

Consultants don't do this stuff. Consultants wouldn't know something properly "social" if it bit them on the ass. This is a grassroots movement.

As for Crushpad, I'm doing it to experience the process. It is fun to try things, and learn something. I don't need to get paid for everything I do. Do you get paid to blog?

I'd hope you could see them in a more positive light

Peter May - The Pinotage Club said...

Take the blinkers from your eyes.

I wasn't the one who posted

taking a task traditionally performed by an employee and outsourcing

Read the business pages. When employees tasks are outsourced the employee has no job.

Cynical, I don't think so. Just because something is called Web 2.0 doesn't mean that common sense should go out the window. faculties

Stewart Kenneth Moore (Booda) said...

I've heard of the madness of crowds and now (due to a recent study) the wisdom of crowds. Interesting use of the web.