In WIRED magazine an article by Jeff Howe about a new trend that supercedes "outsourcing": The Rise of Crowdsourcing. In the article, we find that professional photographers that once earned premium prices for pictures now compete with amateurs who sell pictures on the net for as little as $1. (BTW–I love iStockphoto.com where you can get the $1 pics.). The article also gives two other examples with TV content and R&D. Really, it seems that people in their spare time can do a "micro-chunks" and do it as well as highly paid professionals. Of course, as far as video, a lot of bad content is screened. However, this model appears to be on the rise according to WIRED.
One thing this trend can mean for church leaders is how to treat volunteers. Already, the church (especially larger ones) crowdsource. There are members who volunteer a bit of time to help with everything from engineering to music arranging or troubleshooting a network. Some may not even do these things currently for a living, but the talent is there in the pew. Here are some thoughts to run with the "crowdsource" trend in the church.
- Realize that "micro-chunks" are needed in order to facilitate the increasingly fragmented time of church members. What can be done in 30 minutes or less? (Make on org chart, update one web page, call 3 people, etc.)
- Be willing to collect content, knowing that you have to screen it to find the best. What content can benefit our church that people produce? (Videos, essays, songs, etc.)
- How about telecommuting: What can people do at home? Do you have VPN? (Access to online DB to leaders, for instance).
- Gather the specialists. Who does what for a hobby or living? (Cameramen, engineers,etc.)
- Build online, interactive communities to find the best answers. Who in your church is dialoging about solving the next issues? (Building or facilities, for instance).
What other things need to be in place to "crowdsource" the local church?