Let’s iterate a bit on the recent item about the power of collaborating crowds. The management summary of that item: through the Internet, people all over the world can connect, communicate and then create – possibly in big communities – results that were yet unthinkable, both in terms of sheer amount as in terms of quality. Applications that enable this have been coined Web 2.0, equally enthusiastic by marketing and IT people. Successful, obvious examples are Open Source and Wikipedia.
And there’s room for quite a few encores.
For example, would a complex proposal improve if the whole company would be donating to it, rather than this brave, but small bid team that has been specifically put together for the occasion? Would the entire offer stand out more if hundreds of pairs of eyeballs would watch during its incubation, adding small additions and corrections, each from a different area of expertise or experience?
And come to think of it, would the client better be able to choose for the best proposal by reviewing it by more people from as many perspectives as possible? Producers of Movies and TV series already start to get used to it. The old idea of an audition – acting in front of a jury in a nerve-breaking all or nothing attempt – is quickly replaced by YouTube as the new, transparent audition stage. Simply a matter of downloading the audition script, applying some serious method acting to the role and then capturing it all on digital video camera. YouTube and MySpace take care of the rest, with a special mention of the many hundreds of spontaneous comments that will – no doubt – help the reviewers to make their final choice.
Obviously, that much public participation will eventually lead to higher ratings of the show. Which is slightly more than a nice side effect. But the real suspense just may be in the preparation itself. Sort of a reversed Long Tail (the, well, Long Snout), in which the build-up delivers more traction and festivity than the final result. The Journey, not the Destination. It makes you want to sit down and mediate and contemplate something holistic.
Imagine using TheProposalWiki (don’t bother, I already claimed the website) to collaboratively create every new proposal. It might just work. Especially if you would open the firewalls and convince the client to think along, to review, even to contribute to the final result. Nobody would deny it leads to better proposals, with obvious advantages to both sides. It’s the ultimate, final dream of every account executive: a Long Snout in which you collaboratively work with the client on the perfect offer, en passant building on more intimacy in the business relationship.
Thanks anyway, to Web 2.0. And if you will excuse me now, I have to videotape my YouTube profile.