The creativity of the world has never been more accessible, thanks to crowdsourcing. Yet incorporating crowdsourcing into your innovation strategy can feel like a challenge in need of that same creativity. How can you tap into the wisdom of large groups? Before you crowdsource ideas, know how it works and how you should use them. Here’s what you need to know.
Find Your Scale
The first question is what crowd you’ll be sourcing from. There are multiple approaches. A large organization that wants to maintain internal policies and reward employees, for example, might only use an internal scale, tapping into their own employees. A smaller one with a large customer base may draw on that resource.
You’ll also want to consider your particular innovation needs. Internal processes will have a different audience from product development strategy. Consider your needs for publicity versus privacy and overall scale.
What Have You Already Been Told?
We get feedback every day, in all sorts of ways. A client calls to praise a salesperson going above and beyond. A subcontractor asks if you’ve heard of a system they’ve tried from another company. An employee drops a suggestion off in the box in the breakroom.
Finding this feedback, and digesting it, is key to make a beginning and can save you more effort than you realize. If you see the same feedback or suggestions turning up repeatedly, then the question isn’t about getting ideas so much as implementing the ideas you’ve already gotten.
Determine Quantity and Quality
To begin with, consider the scale of the audience you want to tap into. A highly visible consumer brand will draw a larger crowd, while a boutique will only get a fraction of the attention. Yet, the boutique brand might be better situated to draw from its audience because the most committed and engaged people in their industry will participate.
Remember that in any initiative, only a certain percentage of your audience will engage. So consider both how much attention you can get and who you’re getting it from.
What’s The Incentive?
What your audience wants for their ideas, in terms of payment, will depend on what you’re asking for and the level of skill involved in getting it. Lego, for example, runs a popular initiative soliciting customers for ideas, with the reward simply being a chance to be the one who put forward that particular set.
Bug bounties, meanwhile, are generally high-reward offers from companies with a narrowly targeted audience of product testers, software engineers, and other highly skilled individuals. Understand what drives your audience to participate and how to cater to it.
Everyone wants to know how a process they contributed to shakes out in the end. Sometimes it’s just idle curiosity; other times, it’s crucial to iterate the creative process going forward. Consider some scale of transparency that discusses what happens to ideas after your contest ends or after a committee has accepted them. It will both encourage participation and offer accountability.
Crowdsourcing is a powerful tool and one that needs to be used judiciously, with the right platform. To learn more about crowdsourcing and how it fits into your innovation strategy, contact us