Crowdsourcing can be extremely powerful when used in the right place at the right time. You may have heard the term before — but do you know what it really means? Find out more about what crowdsourcing is, how it works and why companies are using it to improve their operations and innovate.
What is Crowdsourcing and What is it For?
The Internet brought together businesses and their stakeholders. This has built the foundation for new collaboration methods and value creation. Thanks to greater connectivity between people, individuals can contribute collectively to the same project, even if they are not in the same location. This allows them to share ideas, time, experience, or even funds. This is called crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing is the process of bringing together individuals with a common interest to solve a problem. It seeks to mobilize a group of people with different views and skills, on a voluntary basis, to find new approaches to solving problems — complex or not, providing a service, creating content, or even investing resources to finance any idea or proposal.
Crowdsourcing can give an organization the resources, ideas, solutions, engagement, and co-creation opportunities they need to optimize their work and reduce costs.
How Does Crowdsourcing Work?
Crowdsourcing has become an important tool for companies in a variety of areas, including data collection, creating operational efficiencies, and troubleshooting in general. This has allowed many companies to grow at an unprecedented rate, to the point that the practice has revolutionized entire sectors. Some companies use crowdsourcing to achieve specific goals or to generate ideas.
The way a company decides to bring together the talents that will perform these tasks is usually related to its goal with crowdsourcing. There are several examples of the use of crowdsourcing by companies around the world, some are so incorporated into our day-to-day lives, that we do not even notice how our collaboration with a service or product solves a collective problem. One example is Waze, an app that uses information shared by users to help improve urban mobility in cities.
A company can use a digital space — sometimes called a crowdsourcing platform — to bring these people together in one place and collaborate in the search for innovative solutions. Natura, a cosmetic company and a world leader in direct sales, uses the power of networks to innovate through its Cocriando Natura platform, however, it started its co-creation process on social networks.
The idea of crowdsourcing is not new, but the evolution of technologies has certainly contributed to its popularization. The internet facilitates information sharing and efficient communication, which are essential factors for crowdsourcing. It is also the key to finding and accessing the crowd needed for the job. Applications, websites, social media, e-mail, and other forms of technology allow companies to quickly and easily reach their main stakeholders.
What are the Benefits of Crowdsourcing?
Google is considered one of the most creative and innovative companies in the world. Much of this success is the result of the guideline of hiring the most intelligent and capable people that the company can achieve. However, even for Google, it is impossible to have all the creative and intelligent people in the world as an employee. Now, is it possible to access these people in other ways?
Crowdsourcing allows companies to access talent that is not part of the organization to help solve problems and co-create. By directing a question to a broad pool of talent, companies can gain access to incredible suggestions for a new product or service, or a new approach to a challenging problem.
This not only helps in solving problems but also allows groups to feel connected to the company. Building this community of employees can bring huge benefits in terms of marketing, brand visibility, and customer loyalty. When a question is sent to the broader talent pool, the business wins by obtaining innovative suggestions, such as ideas for a new product or service, or a new approach that may solve a problem.
This allows the problem to be solved quickly and contributes to all groups feeling connected, bringing enormous marketing benefits, brand visibility, and customer loyalty. Crowdsourcing also offers many other advantages such as:
- Lower Costs: Winning ideas should definitely be rewarded, but offering those rewards is generally cheaper than formally hiring people to solve problems
- Greater Speed: Gathering a larger group of people can speed up the problem-solving process. Two heads are better than one, right?
- More Diversity: Some companies don’t have much internal diversity, and therefore crowdsourcing can give them access to professionals from different backgrounds, values, and professional experiences
Basic Elements of a Crowdsourcing Process
The concept of crowdsourcing is simple, but the practice can be a little complicated. It is more difficult than it seems to ask for input from your stakeholders. Therefore, a good crowdsourcing project also needs:
- A Clearly Defined Scope: All participants must know what is expected of them and what the problem is to be solved
- General Information: Technical data must be made available for the participants to evaluate before giving their suggestions
- Clear Format for the Job: Such as a crowdsourcing platform that brings together all the information, tasks, and workflow
Another thing you need to decide is whether you want to reach the largest number of people (and use, for example, large public social networks like Facebook or Twitter), or reach only a certain group that has specific skills.
A specialized crowdsourcing platform can help to structure this process and guide the interactions between your business and the people willing to help you. Do you think about applying crowdsourcing to your company? Don’t know how to start?
Teams Ideas IDEATION is a platform that allows you to carry out ideas challenges for innovation, or to solve problems using the principles of crowdsourcing. With it you can involve employees, customers, suppliers, or even people outside your value chain, adding valuable resources to the process of creating value for your company. Teams Ideas IDEATION is 100% free for an unlimited number of users and integrated with Microsoft Teams. Start right now!