Crowdsourcing has existed for centuries, but with the advent of technology, it’s been making big waves in the last few decades. Jeff Howe coined the term as a mashup of crowd and outsourcing in a 2006 article about the practice in Wired magazine. It’s an untraditional model with exciting possibilities, harnessing the potential of the crowd for their niche expertise and unleashing very cool developments in almost every sector.
Fueled by the internet and smartphones in particular--crowdsourcing has really taken off in appeal and practicality. The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format and a large network (in the case of the internet, a worldwide network) of potential participants. There are platforms to crowdsource graphic design, copywriting, and basically every discipline involving data collection, creating operational efficiencies, and in the case of HeroX, problem-solving.
Diversity and opportunity
So many people out there in myriad walks of life have great ideas, but most don’t get paid for them. Inspired by innovative crowdsourcing examples that created ways for organizations to learn beyond the "base of minds" provided by their employees like LEGO Ideas and Wikipedia, we created a crowdsourcing platform that would be a fun, inspirational, and challenging destination for people with curious minds that want to have a chance to be a part of high-level problem-solving. One of the most attractive aspects of crowdsourcing for us is the element of diversity across race, sex, and culture that creates a very positive culture of opportunity and inclusion.
Innovation bounty hunters
In our experience, we have found that the best ideas trickle up. So we put a talent magnet out there, because if you’re looking for a needle in a haystack, why not have the needle come to you? Essentially, we’re innovation bounty hunters. Companies who work with us put up a bounty, and we let anyone out there with ideas know that they can be part of something challenging and meaningful.
What kind of crowdsourcing do we do?
At HeroX, we have solved problems for anyone from government agencies to retail companies. We had a challenge from NASA that to solve the problem of space poop, and we also work with companies like Lululemon that want to reach out to their community--essentially their tribe of customers--and get their advice on the best way to innovate their business. We would say that it’s not rocket science, but we work with actual rocket scientists at NASA who, when they get stuck on something, they reach out to the crowd to come up with solutions. For the space poop challenge, we had over 20,000 participants who engaged in an incredibly unique, high-level project, which has been an unforgettable experience for all.
We’ve also done social impact challenges like the sustainable living challenge by the New York Department of Health to help senior citizens live independently longer.
The competitive edge we bring
If you’re looking for thinking that’s outside the box, sometimes you actually need to go outside the box--meaning outside the organization--to open your specific challenge up to a different perspective. HeroX is a crowdsourcing marketplace with an infinite recruiting pool of talent that’s ready to put heads together to accomplish incredible things.