Thinking about Minecraft and innovation over past few days has reminded me of Jon Chu’s TED talk, about the dance troupe Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (LEX) and Chris Anderson’s TED talk from back in July 2010 about web video and innovation.In this talk Anderson covers how innovation in dance has evolved through self-taught dancers sharing YouTube videos. Here’s a recent Wired article by Chris Anderson in which he discusses ‘Crowd Accelerated Innovation’ in the context of precisely this kind of YouTube peer-to-peer social learning. The YouTube video making and sharing that’s integral to the Minecraft player community is very similar.
But in all this I still question to what extent this innovation is just bottom up ‘crowd’ activity and how it relates to professional knowledge and skills. After all, the LEX example that Anderson discusses is mediated by a Chu, a professional film-maker. Harry Shum Jr, dancer and choreographer for LEX, also plays Mike Chang in Glee. So perhaps this is more about a relationship between professional expertise and what Anderson describes as crowd accelerated innovation.