I’d like to hear some opinions from designers about the concept of socialized design. After reading the article by Tad Toulis I was left wondering how exactly a company makes the leap into social design while still maintaining a level of secrecy. Will it require some sort of non disclosure agreement signed by a thousand people? Will that even hold water legally? How do you keep an unscrupulous overseas company from stealing an idea from the web and bringing it to market before you do? Also, do you think that allowing the public at large to shape a concept will yield the best results, or will it end up being death by focus group? Should designers be the trend setters, or should we allow Facebook to shape our concepts?
As far as I observed company’s approaches to crowdsourcing, they all are in a strong position for their respective market segment and there’s not much of a chance for a competitor to easily take over market shares from them. Also, the business is not about ideas but about decisions what concepts to follow. And, of course, this kind of information is kept secret as long as possible → product release date.
I think all these pseudo-demomocratic approaches to let John Doe “vote” for his favourite designs on facebook or elsewhere are completely pointless. In the end it’s about making a decision where to invest money /what products to manufacture. John Doe neither has his money involved nor the chance is eliminated that John doe is some sort oft key-pressing chimpanzee or a fake account from a marketing agency.