There are many strategies, tools and resources that exist to help organizations today. You may be asking yourself, “then why should I care about crowdsourcing?” With business innovation in high demand, the structure of work changing, and people accessing the internet that couldn’t before, tapping into the collective intelligence of people across the globe is inevitable.
The motivation behind asking “random” people on the internet to solve problems or contribute their ideas can be summed up by this quote from Einstein: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” By embracing the idea that you don’t know where a solution or next innovative idea lives, you unlock creativity which can be limited by usual problem solving techniques. Crowdsourcing allows you to find a person (or people) that look at your problem from a different perspective, without having prior knowledge of what has or hasn’t worked in the past.
So where does crowdsourcing fit in with your employees and other human or technological resources? The below chart helps visualize this:
On the left, you have your core team which is your full or part time employees. Next, you may have freelancers (those on contract) in areas where you may need to add talent to supplement your core team for short periods of time. On the far right you have software, artificial intelligence, etc. which is all about automation. Between freelancers and software is where crowdsourcing can bridge the gap between the need for human brain power and technology. While the idea of crowdsourcing is not new, the invention of the internet has made it much easier and accessible.
Now that you understand where the power of “the crowd” can fit, how does finding innovation this way work?
It starts with an organization identifying a business issue, problem or opportunity. Then they post it publicly as an open innovation call to the “crowd” and invites them to submit their ideas. It’s done in a very brand and risk friendly way. We call this hosting a “challenge”. Over a period of time set by the sponsoring organization, the crowd submits their ideas or solutions. The organization then vets the ideas or solutions once the submission deadline has passed, and selects and awards the submission(s) that best meets their needs. Simple as that!
Not all crowdsourcing projects are ran the same either. While most of them follow the formula described above, you can add different elements to fit the needs of what you are seeking to achieve. We outline just a few examples of how to set your challenge apart here. Even if you’re hesitant to put a “challenge” out to a global audience to start, you can always begin with an internal or private crowdsourcing project. This is when you would source ideas or solutions from a specific group of people, such as your employees or attendees of an event you held. The HeroX platform allows you to enable a password so only certain people can participate in your challenge, or we can make your challenge only viewable to those who have the URL. Using this strategy is a great way to ease yourself into crowdsourcing before having the larger crowd tackle a bigger or more complex problem of yours. NBC and insurance company, Ameritas, are two examples of organizations who have gone this route.
Now that you’ve had a glimpse into the future of work, HeroX invites you to experience it for yourself! We want you to see firsthand how you’re able to benefit by using crowdsourcing as a strategy within your organization.