We're not using Pinterest to do something cool on the Web. We're using it to solve a basic internal communication problem. I used to constantly email links to individual staff members with a message like "we should try this." Pinterest replaces those emails by sharing that content a more broadly usable, indexable way. It aggregates design inspiration in a central place we all can share.
And that central place happens to be public. Pinterest allows us--requires us, really--to document a part of our creative process openly on the web. As social web tools become more mainstream and privacy concerns lessen (somewhat), I'm seeing more and more organizations use them in informal ways. Project coordination on wikis. Loosely formatted blogs to document progress. There's no extra effort involved to upload or create something special for public consumption. It's just part of the work itself.
What that means, potentially, is a lot more capacity to share the HOW behind our work, not just the end result. It's hard to learn from colleagues when everything is completed and spit-polished into a case study or conference session. I learn a lot more from the messy center of projects--when you know enough to have some goals and direction, but you're still muddling with what the final result will be. At least for me, that's when the juiciest part of the creative process happens.
At first, it felt a little odd to have people outside our own organization "follow" some of the Pinterest boards we thought we were using for internal purposes only. But then I realized we were functionally granting the world access to our brainstorming. I suspect as a professional I can learn a lot more from my colleagues if I can tap into and observe these kinds of internal conversations as projects are proceeding. And for students who mostly experience completed projects through packaged case studies, this kind of access may increase understanding about how the sausage is made.