It was my turn to feed my youngest daughter today and I picked up the new jar of baby food my wife had purchased and realized a new label... It was Heinz's "Mom's Recipe"(TM) and it was a quick reminder that crowdsourcing was not limited to just technology. Here is Heinz, being innovative by creating new baby foods based on recipes submitted by real moms.
Other examples I've blogged about in the past include the multitude of reality television shows where the audience selects the winner (American Idol et al), and CrowdSpirit which uses crowdsourcing for consumer electronics. Another interesting crowdsouring example is Fluevog's open source shoes where you design the shoe and several other examples are discussed on the Read/WriteWeb blog.
One of the challenges with crowdsourcing however is when it comes to truly disruptive technology or radical designs. Crowds may not be able to comprehend the concepts that a visionary provides. Steve Jobs for example was adamant that there be NO ON/OFF button on the IPod even though all the designers thought it was a must do. Some popular musicians also experienced harsh initial criticism prior to mass adoption.
All I can say is that my daughter really really liked her dinner so in this case, it seems to have paid off.