Figure 1:
Figure 1: “Highest rated” frames video of the Johnny Cash project, The Johnny Cash Project, http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/#/explore/TopRated [Accessed 19 September 2015]
The Johnny Cash Project. One of a number of Aaron Koblin’s projects to employ crowdsourcing in an attempt to create, and tell, a story in a new way; through the use of the new-age social medias and their interfaces. Through the use of the site, he allowed people to submit individual frames of a larger video that played at 8 frames a second, and other users were able to look at these frames, and rate them out of 5 (with the higher rated ones being those that appear in the video). There was no condition to being an applicant, merely the individual’s want and drive to help with the overall project. Furthermore, when reviewing other people’s frames, the users are able to see each step of the project, and the level of work, time and effort that went into it (including a total time taken to draw it).

There is no doubt that a project of this kind stands out from the mix. Being a crowdsourced project, the ability for anyone to contribute lent to numbers of people reviewing the video, and trying their hand at helping, and the fact that no one person overruled any of the others resulted in a tension-free environment where the only commitment people had to the project was the one that they afforded themselves. The amount of submissions, clearly visible to anyone who looks over it, is staggering, and exceptional.

This brings us to an interesting point, however. Can this kind of project be considered “innovative” in this era of social media? It can certainly be considered an interesting project in the way each individual frame was drawn, and the amount of commitment shown by the curators. There is also without-question a fair amount of creativity, which lies in part in the idea behind the project, but also in-part with the curators of the project. But, is it innovative?

The default response to this would be a hearted yes in normal circumstances, but with crowd-funding rising in the background, as well as numerous other projects where the community is able to submit their time and effort to assist in the final project, it becomes a question of what is innovation in this ever-evolving society, and to what degree can it be considered innovative? Is innovation only applicable when the core idea is original?

Von Stamm (2003, pp. 1) considers innovation to be equal parts creativity, and the successful implementation of that creativity into a project, and further splits innovation into different levels (2003, pp. 8); Architectural (defines configuration of product and process that will guide future developments), market niche (innovation that opens a new market), regular innovation (change that builds on established technical and productive competence) and revolutionary (which renders established competences obsolete). By these standards, the Johnny Cash project can most likely still be considered rather innovative, though not nearly as much as it may at first seem. It has elements of both regular innovation, and architectural innovation, using what is already present in available in a number of social medias and layering it in such a way that it helps further all-around produsage of crow-sourced projects.

References:

Koblin, A.. 2014. The Johnny Cash Project. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/#/explore/TopRated. [Accessed 19 August 15].

Von Stamm, B. 2003, Managing Innovation, Design & Creativity, John Wiley & Sons Ltd. pp 1-8

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