Crowdsourcing may be trendy right now, but turning to customers for advice isn't a limitless fountain of innovation, says MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence Director Thomas W. Malone. In order for crowdsourcing to be effective, both the company and the participants need to be able to focus their efforts on a very specific project. Not only does a company need to be receptive to good ideas, he notes, it needs to be willing to prune away the bad ones, focusing on only the most actionable items.

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