Crowdsourcing Corporate Innovation

The growing prominence of crowdsourcing reflects how effective it is at aligning services with consumer needs. Whether you’re ordering an Uber, or browsing Wikipedia, we all now benefit from the “crowd economy” in one way or another. However, many decision-makers still do not realise how valuable crowdsourcing can be when applied within their own organizations.

Learning from the Best

On the current landscape of buzzwords and trends, organizations are often implementing innovation techiques without fully understanding the history and context behind them. In our mehodology pages we’re taking you back to school, so that you can learn how these concepts were created and gain a better understanding of how they can benefit your organization today.

Defining Crowdsourcing

As the name suggests, crowdsourcing means ‘outsourcing to the crowds’ and leveraging their wealth of knowledge to achieve business objectives. Crowdsourcing projects can target both internal and external participants via questionnaires, competitions, promotions, and other methods. Because of this, crowdsourcing can serve as a key component of open and internal innovation.

The History & Pioneers

The term ‘crowdsourcing’, coined by Wired magazine authors Mark Robinson and Jeff Howe, first entered the public domain in 2005. However, it could be argued that the practice goes back as far as 1714, when the British government offered a cash prize to the citizen who could come up with the best solution to measure a ship’s longitudinal position.

Among the pioneers who have helped to develop the concept are:

Methodologies & Approaches

Although there are a variety of ways that enterprise customers can harness crowdsourcing, these typically fall under the categories of macro and microtasks:

  • Microtasks: These crowdsourcing campaigns target specific groups with small-scale tasks – such as data validation, image-identification surveys, translations, etc. This can serve as a powerful way to break up large-scale innovation objectives into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Macrotasks – These involve harnessing the wisdom of the crowd for larger-scale, less-defined innovation objectives. Macrotasks could involve launching customer questionnaires to discover ideas for new products, or approaching startups and think tanks to gain unique solutions to business challenges.
  • Innovation Competitions: This approach can serve as an efficient way to incentivize participation in crowdsourcing projects. Participants will have a restricted amount of time to submit their ideas in response to a given challenge. The participant(s) who submits the idea with the most potential could be awarded with a prize or the chance to collaborate in order to bring their vision to life. 

Corporate Crowdsourcing
and its Key Challenges

Engaging & incentivizing a large audience to tackle your unique challenges

Facilitating effective collaboration and idea development for your audience

Ensuring the most valuable submissions are identified & implemented

Protecting intellectual property & maintaining confidentiality during crowdsourcing initiatives

What The Experts Say...

"Crowdsourcing can help brands that need a new approach to solve a business problem when traditional tools are too slow or team thinking is blocked with 'traditional' solutions."

"Senior executives almost unanimously (94%) say that people and corporate culture are the most important drivers of innovation."

“Organizations must actively mine and manage the collective wisdom and experiences in the firm’s ecosystem to thrive in an increasingly competitive market.”

"Nothing will propel a company further than a culture of innovation: An atmosphere that inspires employees, every hour they're at work, to seek out innovative opportunities."

"In many organizations, there is an explicit goal of innovating in a way that is culturally inclusive to engage employees as well as benefit from their collective brainpower."

Achieve Your Strategic Business Goals
With Corporate Crowdsourcing

Realizing that your company needs to launch a major innovation initiative is one thing. Getting a clear picture of what initiative will achieve the highest ROI is quite another. You’ll need to gain input from wide-ranging sources to discover groundbreaking ideas and areas where improvements can be made. Failing to do so could alienate your customers and staff, and put your company at risk of disruption.

This is where crowdsourcing comes to the rescue. With crowdsourcing tools, you can channel expertise from multiple sources, and allow participants to pose creative solutions to your innovation challenges. Using a crowdsourcing platform is also a great way to reach out to employees, customers, and other key stakeholders, and let them know that their opinions are valued. 

Employee Suggestion Box

By establishing your crowdsourcing platform as a suggestion box, you can enable employees to contribute concepts for new products and services, as well as process improvements.

Crowdsourced Co-Creation

Involve clients, partners, and other external stakeholders in your product & services R&D planning. This can be achieved via crowdsourcing initiatives where these stakeholders take part in co-creation engagements.

Continuous Improvement

By using crowdsourcing tools, you can reveal efficient new ways to cut costs, boost performance levels, and streamline workflow processes company wide.

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