BOLD EMPHASIS is mine.
“The absurd camp calls YouTube a festering swamp of adolescent distraction: narcissism, kitten videos, and fart jokes. The obvious camp thinks it’s old news that the Internet fosters communities and promotes innovation (and this camp may view online video as a relatively insignificant new contributor to a familiar theme).
Both camps have a point. But they’re missing the big picture. The true significance of online video has been mischaracterized and underreported.
Innovation has always been a group activity. The myth of the lone genius having a eureka moment that changes the world is indeed a myth. Most innovation is the result of long hours, building on the input of others. Ideas spawn from earlier ideas, bouncing from person to person and being reshaped as they go. If you’re comfortable with the language of memes, you could say a healthy meme needs an ecosystem not of a single brain but of a network of brains. That’s how ideas bump into other ideas, replicate, mutate, and evolve.
Several authors have recently taken on this subject. Henry Chesbrough warns companies to adopt “open innovation,” Eric von Hippel speaks of democratizing innovation, showing how, for example, the kite-surfer community outinnovated the manufacturers that were serving it, and Michael Farrell describes “collaborative circles,” demonstrating that throughout history the best creativity has happened when groups of artists, reformers, writers, or scientists connected regularly with one another.
So Crowd Accelerated Innovation isn’t new. In one sense, it’s the only kind of innovation there’s ever been. What is new is that the Internet—and specifically online video—has cranked it up to a spectacular degree.
The way I see it, Crowd Accelerated Innovation requires three ingredients: a crowd, light, and desire. Let’s take each in turn.”