Organizations of every type solve problems by tapping the creativity and drive inherent in crowdsourcing.

Whether you’re launching an online clothing store or simply have an idea that you believe could change the world, a crowdsourcing platform can help catapult your project to the next level—from ideation to realization. In this article, we explore why crowdsourcing has become an invaluable tool for companies and how it can be leveraged to perform a variety of business-related tasks.

What is crowdsourcing?

According to a recent McKinsey survey, lack of skill and the ability to execute ideas was cited as a key barrier to innovation. With crowdsourcing, you can tap into the collective intelligence of a crowd with the goal of improving performance or discovering new ideas.

But, what is crowdsourcing exactly?

The word is a contraction of “crowd” and “outsourcing.” Users (the crowd) are formed into online communities, and the communities submit solutions. The crowd also sorts through the solutions, finding the best ones.

The best ideas are then owned by the entity that broadcasted the initial call–the crowdsourcer–and winning individuals in the crowd may be rewarded or acknowledged. In some cases, this labor is well-compensated, either monetarily, with prizes, or with recognition. In other cases, the rewards may be in the form of intellectual satisfaction or congratulations for a job well done.

As mentioned, the crowdsourcing process involves taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or independent contractor and outsourcing them to the larger community. Contractors or volunteers working in their spare time may participate in crowdsourcing, as may crowdsourcing experts or businesses.

Ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft are a great example of modern crowdsourcing. These companies found a way to effectively crowdsource transportation, using drivers with their own vehicles and drastically reducing labor costs since they aren’t technically classified as employees.

How does crowdsourcing work?

Crowdsourcing can manifest in a number of ways depending on a company’s goals. However, in order to crowdsource successfully, a business needs to first divide a larger project into smaller micro-tasks. Then, using a crowdsourcing platform or online “task market,” these participants are united in one place. Similarly to how bees in an active hive perform their designated tasks to achieve a common goal, workers in these consumer-facing platforms offer their time, dedication, and expertise to solve a problem or create something entirely new.

What are the benefits of crowdsourcing?

There’s a reason why major corporations opt for crowdsourcing.

For one, crowds aren’t shy about providing feedback since they are typically the beneficiaries of the product or service in question. As such, you can expect the feedback to be useful and genuinely help improve the brand. When “the crowd” submits ideas, you can expect them to exhibit far greater creative range than you would get from a hand-picked consultant. In short, crowdsourcing is an outstanding catalyst for innovation.

Not to mention, crowdsourcing exposes you to a diverse range of perspectives you wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to. The best part is that you can choose from an extensive collection of ideas and suggestions.

But, perhaps the best thing about crowdsourcing is that it is significantly cheaper when compared to other costly alternatives like hiring a content creator or innovator.

How is crowdsourcing used as an ideation solution?

Companies and organizations that want to gather ideas related to products, processes, policies, markets and more can utilize the crowd to better address certain challenges. There’s much truth in the idea that crowds as a whole are smarter than the most intelligent person in them since collective wisdom can identify solutions and opportunities that may be missed by an individual. Consequently, when crowdsourcing is used as an ideation solution, organizations quite often benefit from insights they never anticipated.

Ideation is one of the most popular uses of crowdsourcing in IdeaScale. IdeaScale’s simple idea submission and easy-to-use voting interfaces help elevate the best ideas in the crowd. Crowdsourcing has been used to great success in education, finance, the nonprofit sector, and more.

Can IdeaScale be used for crowdsourcing?

You can create your own crowdsourcing community quickly and easily with IdeaScale. It’s a turn-key solution that allows for the submission of simple or complex solutions and the vetting and sorting of ideas so that the best ideas rise up to the top.

While IdeaScale is used for the front-end of crowdsourcing, it also has powerful back-end features that help stakeholders and administrators discover ways of taking the work generated by the crowd and making it a reality in business, education, government, and more.

IdeaScale has been used to gather ideas from the crowd for numerous purposes, spanning new product development, product refinement programs, cost savings ideas, citizen engagement initiatives, citizen journalism programs, customer feedback, challenge-specific work, and more.

How can you get started with the IdeaScale platform?

The best way to get started with the IdeaScale platform is to take an online product tour or request a demo. Learn how IdeaScale uses strategic planning, custom content, notification tools, custom fields, and outstanding security measures to help clients put crowdsourcing to work and reap amazing results.


How you use IdeaScale depends on your goals and the work that you would like to complete using crowdsourcing. We encourage you to get our Innovation Starter Kit so you can get started right away.