If there is one thing we can be certain of it is that technology is not only constantly changing. It is transforming how we work, communicate, socialize, learn, interact with the world…and in all of this fluidity it is transforming the very business models that shape our economy.
Many industries are being facing the challenges of re-evaluating the concept of value, demand and price often on a global scale. The economic model that crowdsourcing presents is forcing change and driving innovation and competition. It is shaking up industries as the many ‘crowd’ now collaborate, co-create and innovate. It also presents new opportunities for micro-funding, development of micro projects and new ways to help causes.
Crowdsourcing has rapidly risen in the last 5 years since the term was coined by Jeff Howe in Wired. So what better place to start than for Jeff to explain it himself:
Crowdsourcing covers many approaches such as simple competition platforms, idea sourcing, and talent resourcing. Applied inside organizations using a blend of employees and external people it is seen more as collaborative working or ‘open innovation’.
Outside of the company and involving customer tribes for new ideas and products is perhaps the most powerful: integrating the marketing, PR and social into an innovation process.
The Blur Group crowdsources people in the fields of design, marketing, writing, photography and video. The agency helps coordinate and filter the crowd of experts. As a result it can flex its capabilities to any brief and pick talent matched to the brief.
- The crowdsourced agency - Blur Group
John Winsor, is the founder of Victors & Spoils, the world’s first crowdsourced agency. Victor and Spoils brought together an extraordinarily talented distributed team, and convinced major brands such as Harley-Davidson, GAP, Levi’s, and Virgin America to use a crowdsourcing approach.
Another related crowdsourced business -the crowdsourcd design business - Crowdspring
TopCoder has more than 300,000 people in the community. That talent pool is broader and will have more specialist talent than one employer could own. Crowdsourcing people is not appropriate for every talent need, but HR departments could learn to be more ‘agile’ and think outside of the box.
- The crowdsourced Development Team – Topcoder
Innovation is critical to change and harnessing external resources to work alongside your team to develop new products and services just makes more sense. Leading brands, including Proctor and Gamble, IBM, Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, BMW, Nokia and Kimberly-Clark have rapidly recognized the benefits of this approach to drive innovation.
The power of crowdsourcing becomes even more significant though when the the crowd is your customers:
Dunkin Donuts has run two very successful “Create Dunkin’s Next Donut”
The Next Blue campaign aims to crowdsource the next pair of jeans that Wrangler will put into production
Innovation management the Starbucks way – mystarbucksidea.com.
P & G’s leading industry leading Connect + Develop innovation program
Other Interesting Uses of Crowdsourcing:
- IBM Launches iPhone App For Crowdsourcing Water Quality
- The US Army crowdsources a combat support vehicle design
- NYC Crowdsources City Improvement Ideas
- NASA To Crowdsource Software Development
- 7 Captivating Works of Crowdsourced Art
10 Tips for Crowdsourcing
Often the harsh reality is that markets that have are heavily laden with fixed costs and overheads, traditional distribution channels and marketing models that are out of sync with the relationship economy. compete with nimbler new start ups. Whether you are a large organization, a small business or a start-up SoHo recognizing and managing change is now a critical part of business.
Crowdsourcing is both a social and collaborative mindset that many businesses need to embrace no matter whether that is to foster and develop interaction in communities or to scale and develop more formalized employee or customer programmes.
“Crowdsourcing isn’t always the right model. Sometimes things are better done in-house,” says Ross Dawson. “But those organisations that choose the right tasks for crowdsourcing and approach it well will build significant advantages over their competitors. Cost and efficiency are often less important than simply being able to get highly talented workers to complement the skills of your staff.”
What ideas do you have?