From CrowdsourcingDirectory


Clay Shirky came up with a word that solves the problem of explaining the essence of crowdsourcing: “cognitive surplus”. This is the unused potential of the minds of 6,7 billion people. Social media is unlocking this potential. Technology allows us to be creative and productive instead of consumptive. Or as Shirky puts it:

We watched I Love Lucy. We watched Gilligan’s Island. We watch Malcolm in the Middle. We watch Desperate Housewives. Desperate Housewives essentially functioned as a kind of cognitive heat sink, dissipating thinking that might otherwise have built up and caused society to overheat.
And it’s only now, as we’re waking up from that collective bender, that we’re starting to see the cognitive surplus as an asset rather than as a crisis. We’re seeing things being designed to take advantage of that surplus, to deploy it in ways more engaging than just having a TV in everybody’s basement.

The embedded video is his appearance at the Web2.0 conference earlier this year. Although it is not that productive to just sit and watch it, I think it’s 15 minutes well spent.

Video may be here