Choosing a crowdsourcing platform for your organization is an investment, but it’s more than that. When you select a crowdsourcing platform, you’re choosing the way in which your organization will receive and evaluate new ideas. It’s about making the choice that will best promote innovation while still being easy to use and robust enough to handle the influx of data. Here are some steps you can follow to find the right crowdsourcing platform for your organization.
Step One: Choose a Selection Team
No great decision is made in a vacuum, and that includes choosing a crowdsourcing platform. You’ll want to choose a team of people who represent key stakeholders and who have a diversity of perspectives. When you have a great team, you’ll have a lot of help making the decision that works best for the entire organization.
Step Two: Determine and Document Your Goals
Before you can select a crowdsourcing platform, you’ll need to know what capabilities you need. Work with your team and stakeholders to make a list of the type of crowdsourcing you’re planning to do in both the short-term and long-term. Crowdsourcing can be internal or external, and there are many different methods. Once you know what you need, document your requirements along with your available budget.
Step Three: Assess Multiple Crowdsourcing Platforms
Once you’ve determined your needs and your budget, you’ll have everything you need to assess crowdsourcing platforms. As you review platforms with your team, you’ll want to document what you find so that you can compare platforms against each other easily and fairly. In addition, you’ll want the documentation so that you can make a business case for your selection to leadership or stakeholders.
Step Four: Narrow Down Your Selection
You won’t have time – or the desire – to get a presentation from every vendor of a possible crowdsourcing platform. As a result, you’ll need to narrow down your selections based on your assessments in step three. This is where your written assessment of how each option matched your needs and budget.
Step Five: Attend a Product Demonstration and Ask Questions
With your top selections, set up a product demonstration and be sure to ask questions. You may want to make sure key stakeholders attend as well, along with your team. Here are some questions you will want to ask at the demonstration:
- Will the platform scale to a crowd of any size? You want to ensure that your crowdsourcing efforts aren’t hampered by the crowdsourcing platform you choose.
- Are the platform’s workflow and processes customizable? You may discover that your process needs to change or requires different activities than you initially expect, especially as you carry out multiple crowdsourcing projects.
- Can you make updates to the crowdsourcing platform yourself? You don’t want to be waiting on the development team when you need to make updates.
- Does it integrate well with your other software? You want to make sure that any data imports or exports that are needed go very smoothly and that you don’t have to build any “bridge” software in-house.
- Is there a workflow to ensure that the information can be verified by a human, to ensure that the data being received is sensible?
Step Six: Rank the Final Selections and Choose a Crowdsourcing Platform
With all of the information in hand, you’ll want to rank your final selections based on your needs, priorities, budget, and the results of the product demonstrations. You may decide that certain specifications hold a higher weight than others when you assign a numerical score. With input from your team, management, and stakeholders, you’ll finalize the order of your selection. Depending on your organization, you may need to make a business case for your specific choice showing the pros and cons along with a cost-benefit analysis.
Step Seven: Plan for Success
Once your crowdsourcing platform has been chosen and funded, you’re still not done. It’s up to you and your team to set your organization up for success with your crowd projects. You’ll want to make sure that you have a crowdsourcing project team and a budget in place to allow you to move forward with at least a few crowdsourcing projects. Otherwise, the crowdsourcing platform won’t get the use that it needs to truly benefit your organization.
If you’re interested in learning more about crowdsourcing platforms, or finding out how IdeaScale can take your organization’s innovation to the next level, take our online product tour!