I just read John Winsor's blog post "Will Agencies Suffer Death by 1,000 Cuts Through Crowdsourcing" . To begin with, on a complete aside - I am thankful to Twitter because I wouldn't have even known about John's blog without it.
I was incredibly excited to read his blog because it's driving to exactly what I'm envisioning the future to be. As he says, "The only question is, will agencies wake up from our own delusions or will they suffer the same fate as their print media brethren?"
Once people get over the emotion involved in such a radical change, particularly creative people, I believe they'll be driven by the fact that they can develop much more creative solutions to business problems.
Here's an example -- imagine if there were no more agencies and instead there were free agents. Centers of excellence in their space - creative design, marketing strategy, copywriting, user experience, etc. Imagine if those folks were able to pick and choose the team they wanted to put together based on the specific assignment. Those folks could form and re-form depending on the assignment and the client. They could actually pick their assignments and get more control and leverage over the client because they decide what they want to work on. I think there's potential for this to work in many different businesses and industries; not just marketing & advertising.
The next logical step forward from there is to pull more intelligence from technology - remove the guess work around what the strategy ought to be, what customers will want, and what customers will think looks good. Is it possible (yes it is) for computers to put exactly what customers will want to see without any human advertising/marketing professional involvement? Blasphemy you say? But, I'm just asking the question -- is it possible?