NESTA hosted events with two smart open source chappies this week. Yesterday evening there was a presentation from Prof Eric Von Hippel, MIT Professor and author of Democratising Innovation and this morning a breakfast chat with Karim Lakhani from HBS. I spoke to the Prof about the backlash against user-generated campaigns and the disappointing quality of content they produce. He made a great point that what was missing from these campaigns was any type of community mechanic to encourage the process, add some competition through peer review, create fun, and to act as a quality filter. In effect the current crop of brand-led user generated campaigns are just competitions. Or, in the Prof's words, it's like getting everybody on slashdot to send you their thoughts about something and being surprised when a lot of it is rubbish! It's only the community mechanic that makes the site of any use. Pretty interesting I thought. Certainly the user-gen campaigns that work have been very serious and intelligent in their approach to community, not paying open source lip service. Repeat after me : process first, product second.