LAB RATS is an online community built for the express purpose of solving business problems and creating opportunities for brands. We call it brandsourcing. And though it sounds a lot like crowdsourcing, it’s very different. See, crowdsourcing takes tasks traditionally performed by skilled groups or individuals and outsources them to an undefined, large group of people as a web-enabled open call. Also, it’s evil. Brandsourcing uses a similar crowd of problem solvers, but with one distinct difference: It’s a much better crowd. That’s because a brandsourcing crowd consists of professionals, brought together by invitation. To illustrate the difference we will use a simile. Imagine a befuddled auto mechanic throwing up his hands and saying to any random group of people, “I can’t get it started, got any ideas?” That’s crowdsourcing. Now imagine the same mechanic, with the same befuddlement turning around and asking the same question to qualified auto mechanics and electricians and engineers and other people who possess opinions worth listening to. That’s brandsourcing. And it’s not evil.