Crowdsourcing is a fantastic and innovative idea that enables businesses to experience exponential growth. If done properly, crowdsourcing can have a huge impact on the business and on their market position. It is an opportunity get fresh ideas from people who think outside of the box. But it doesn’t always go right. There are plenty of examples on any crowdsource platform of initiatives that didn’t deliver any results or, if they did, they were very poor. Hence, you have to be realistic about what the options are.
Crowdsourcing was first mentioned as a concept in Wired magazine in 2006. Since 2006, the term has increasingly become part of mainstream society. Other terms, which are often linked, that are used together include outsourcing, crowdfunding, and freelancing, to name but a few. There are hundreds of different platforms on which companies can post their issues and ask others to pitch innovative solutions. Most of the time, they offer a certain prize for whoever provides the solution that gives the best results. Prizes are very interesting, ranging from prestigious internships to large cash prizes, and the problems they resolve can be anything from creating a yearly business plan to developing a new piece of software, or from creating an ad campaign to developing a whole new project.
A Few Examples
One of the best examples of crowdsourcing done right is Wikipedia. Everybody uses it to reference certain ideas, and anyone is able to register in order to edit it, making the information more relevant. It is, in effect an online encyclopedia that can bring together knowledge from around the world. It is completely non-profit and the biggest website of its kind. But it isn’t perfect! For instance, some people now edit the Wikipedia information maliciously, thereby ruining what is being listed on the site. As such, some also use it as an example to show that crowdsourcing never really does work.
If you ever spot a crowdsourcing platform, you will notice the vast array of projects and challenges that are listed there. One of the good things about it is that it gives people the opportunity to be recognized for their particular skills, which is important for their personal professional development. One of the bigger issues with crowdsourcing, however, is the rewards system. Make the reward too big and you will undoubtedly be overwhelmed with poor ideas simply because someone wants a chance to be rewarded. Make it too small, however, and the person who actually has the right solution won’t be parting with their ideas.
Essentially, crowdsourcing is an opportunity for businesses to come up with out of the box ideas. Most businesses have excellent teams on board with a range of specializations, but crowdsourcing brings in a fresh perspective from a wider range of specialists and at only a fraction of the cost. But it is important to see it for what it is: a system that has its own particular flaws as well.