Today's innovation problems are tough to solve. The traditional methods that have served your enterprise well for decades no longer seem to work, and your current crop of young, talented millennials don't want to stick around to help. Exponentially advancing technology, a rapidly growing online worker population and improved access to education all add up to a confusing medley of options.
- Should you be thinking about crowdsourcing?
- Is it only for start-ups and small businesses or can it be used at enterprise scale?
- Can crowdsourcing be useful for more than just a technology solution?
- What are the 'killer apps' and how do they work?
- How do you manage the crowd to create value?
- And what are the cultural and commercial challenges you will face?
In the following pages, we take a close look at crowdsourcing and tackle these questions.
Read the full report: The three billion - Enterprise crowdsourcing and the growing fragmentation of work
What can the crowd do?
The crowd provides an array of different approaches to help enterprises operate more efficiently amid ongoing shifts in policy, science, technology and skills, and the fluidity exhibited by the wider economy.
Businesses and other organisations are finding that the crowd can help with a wide range of challenges, from simple rote tasks, like image labelling, raising money or voting, through to far more complex problems, like brainstorming ideas, designing new products or even strategic planning.
Crowdsourced problems can be vast in scope, such as SETIlive, a 'citizen science' project conducted by Zooniverse in conjunction with the SETI Institute, which asked people all over the world to help with the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence.
Or requests can be exquisitely precise, such as seeking a new technology to remove microbubbles from extracorporeal bloodstreams, a current challenge competition managed by InnoCentive.
So how can you choose what crowdsourcing approach is right for you?
Using the crowd in enterprise
The crowdsourcing ecosystem is still relatively young but as new platforms and use-cases emerge, the potential for disruptive impact on the enterprise is significant. In shifting towards a more 'outside-in' approach to problem solving, for example, crowdsourcing changes the way that businesses, public sector organisations and other enterprises create value.
The size of a company, the number of employees, the tools and other intellectual property developed, or the exclusive agreements a company has with partners in its supply chain no longer limit the capacity of any organisation to discover and apply knowledge.
Instead, it is the greater access to knowledge the crowd provides and, in particular, the frictionless flows of diverse ideas enabled by crowdsourcing that now create value.
Choosing the right crowd for the right problem
Is your business ready for the crowd?
As the crowdsourcing ecosystem and the online population both
steadily build over the next few years, the opportunities that
exist for businesses and public sector organisations to discover
and develop "good ideas" will multiply rapidly.
As a consequence, organisations that fail to harness the strength and diversity of the crowd, and instead adopt a 'wait-and-see' attitude, are likely to be overtaken by stripped-down, more nimble organisations that appreciate the shrinking half-life of knowledge and the power of connectivity over.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.