The Eyes Have It

The rapid rise of consumer-generated content and innovation fascinates me as I think we are just scratching the surface of its potential. Just as the Neighborhood Watch deputizes everyone's eyes as part of the local security force, these new efforts coopt everyone into being a citizen journalist, art director, film producer, and the like. It is hard to go through your day and not encounter one example of this phenomenon in action. Take my day today.

I woke up and read an article online about the individual who created the infamous Hillary Clinton/Apple 1984 ad mash-up. While the ad itself is an example of user-generated content, its creator was discovered after the Huffington Post blog asked all of its colleagues and readers to try and sniff out the source. Mid-day at the gym The Ellen DeGeneres Show was playing on the television, and she was featuring videos submitted by viewers. Later in the day I visited Talking Points Memo, a political blog, where I was fascinated to see readers of the blog had been asked (and did!) help sort through the 3000 pages of email the Dept. of Justice had released in an effort to uncover content worth noticing.

And just now while booking a hotel room online I learned about Hilton's new Be Hospitable campaign to spotlight acts of goodness, kindness and hospitality that anyone can report at their new campaign's site.

So everyone is now trying to get in the game and be one of the "cool kids." The challenge, and I believe the real opportunity, is when companies, associations, and organizations can be a catalyst and conduit for members, customers, and other interested parties to generate and share meaningful creativity that advances the organization's mission, vision, and desired results. Some groups will get to that stage more quickly than others, but it is the ultimate destination worth pursuing. Engagement for engagement sake is fun right now, but when everyone is in the game, the best creators will only want to be engaged in making meaningful contributions.