Editor’s note: WRAL Local Tech Wire has added another feature with the "Innovation Exchange." Noah Garrett, former executive director of communications for the North Carolina Technology Association, is a creative spirit, from writing music to news stories, who owns and operates NGC Communications. The focus of the Innovation Exchange is just that – creating a Web community through which people can exchange ideas and foster creativity.

Participate in the Exchange. Send ideas and feedback to: noah@thinkngc.com

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Sometimes there are too many frogs on the lily pad. What happens when that happens ? It sinks.

In these frustrating financial times, global leaders are rethinking next steps and cutting costs anywhere and everywhere they can. Many are turning to "crowdsourcing" as a way to find inexpensive labor from the masses to create content and solve problems.

The practice is expanding. As a result, businesses are managing diversified portfolios of innovation sources, which is a good thing. I’m all in favor of collaboration. But, in an age where everybody thinks they know everything, I believe that experts are still needed to do the job and do the job right.

A good online example of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia. It’s a great resource, but the problem is that the thoughts of the masses can sometimes be diluted or downright incorrect. Sorry, but it’s true. There are many user-generated falsehoods on Wikipedia accepted as fact, and that’s simply not the case.

What collaborative technology has done, though, is redefine the expert. Expertise no longer belongs to an exclusive domain of people. Collaborative technology and social media is diminishing that barrier to find skilled practitioners in unique and unexpected places.

Honestly, it’s one of the reasons I am able to do what I do.

Companies hire me on a contractual basis; where I am considered the subject matter expert and treated as part of the team. The organization saves money by not having to provide full-time employee benefits and other options. The model works, and clients have benefited because of it.

It’s time to rethink the crowdsourcing idea and add experts to the portfolio of innovation sources.

Expert sourcing taps specialized talent as a brokered service. This model actually will better organize innovation, and drive the full potential for ideas to turn into reality and finally maturity.

Think back to boom of the 1920s and the industrial revolution where the assembly line became standard practice in factories. Each person had a specialized job and the team was able to produce quality products fast. The idea isn’t new. What is new is how companies leverage today’s specialists to do the tasks that many businesses just don’t have the resources to do in-house.

By expert sourcing instead of crowdsourcing, the return on investment has unlimited potential.

Crowdsourcing is fine for stepping ideas forward, but it takes experts to make them sprint forward.

Please participate in the exchange. We would love to hear your thoughts on this for future posts.