Looking at the excellent directory of crowdsource 'sources' got me thinking….During the days of good old Total Quality Management, EFQM and Process Improvement if you wanted to improve an aspect or process within your organisation the accepted (and workshop-ed to death) approach was to identify the best practice within your organisaiton and ensure that was adopted across the patch.
To achieve further improvements you looked outside your organisation at those in your sector, identified better practice and adapted your processes and approaches accordingly. To become best in class and earn an excellence tag, you then looked outside your sector for inspiration and best practice. The classic being Airways learning from Formula One pit stops for turn around times.
All these approaches necessitated the skills the practices and the art of Benchmarking.
Now with ease of access to mass 'thought' through crowdsourcing, as illustrate for example in We Think and indeed through the questions and answers within Linkedin, the use of twitter, it is now possible for anyone to ask the question what is the best practice in X and get a considered response.
Maybe crowdsourcing isn't about to replace Benchmarking, but rather Benchmarking adopt crowdsourcing as a viable tool, ensuring that the Benchmarking Code and practice is maintained.
But importantly principles and art of benchmarking are still essential to help understand the results of crowdsourcing and how to apply the same into the organisation