Crowdsourcing

1. WHAT IS CROWDSOURCING?

Crowdsourcing is the process of taking a task traditionally performed by the employees and associates of an organization, and outsourcing it to a defined group of people as an open call to action. The process taps into the knowledge, expertise, time and resources of a predefined crowd to generate innovative results or execute tasks that would solve some of the organisation’s immediate issues, or produce growth results and possibilities that are beyond the current purview of the organization.

2. WHO ARE THESE RELEVANT CROWDS?

Crowds comprise of a homogeneous group of individuals who are either domain experts or interested stakeholders (vendors, partners or current and future customers). The entire premise is to identify, reach out, motivate and work with the right set of people who can have a fruitful impact, hence the term ‘Relevant Crowd’. The best way to involve a ‘Relevant Crowd’ is by identifying which homogenous groups are skilled and qualified to complete the required task to the client’s satisfaction.

3. WHY WOULD I GO TO CROWDS?

Knowledge and resources are dispersed across the world. Crowdsourcing helps collate this distributed knowledge and resources by involving minds from outside the organisation to co-create unique answers, opinions, ideas, prototypes or finished products. Crowds can help ease up the ideation to execution process and enable the organization to achieve more with its existing resources.

4. WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS CAN I ASK THESE CROWDS?

The possibilities of what can be achieved through this process are endless. To mention a few examples, crowdsourcing has been used effectively in the spheres of packaging design, product testing, software development, drawing business plans, forming growth strategies even co-creating the products and services. It can be used to innovatively address concerns for which traditional methods can be expensive, time consuming, require a large effort or are simply difficult to achieve because of day to day pressures

5. ARE THESE CROWDS QUALIFIED TO UNDERSTAND MY TASKS & CHALLENGES?

The secret lies in investing quality time in defining and identifying the right crowd, its size and relevance, in tandem with an appropriate process to screen the participants on the project. The right crowd consists either of domain experts (e.g. software developers or designers, etc.) or current and future stakeholders in the organisation (e.g. vendors, partners, affiliates, customers) since they are both best qualified to understand and address your brief.

6. WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF CROWDSOURCING?

The process is extremely simple; identify the most pressing challenge, define the relevant crowd, budget for the investment, let the crowd submit their ideas, judge these submissions and the work is done. The internet allows access the right people quickly, irrespective of their location. The client can chose the level of their involvement in the process. Even though clients are encouraged to be involved in the entire process, the easiest way is to define the brief, identify the relevant crowd and judge their submission and leave the rest to the experts.

7. CAN CROWDS SOLVE SIMPLE ISSUES OR ADDRESS COMPLICATED CHALLENGES?

Issues are neither simple nor complicated for the wisdom of the crowds. Clients who have benefitted, vouch that being in their own business, solutions to the simplest problems or most complex challenges don’t occur to them in ways the crowds can solve them. The secret to getting the best solutions to any of your issues and challenges lies in the way you present it to your relevant audience.

8. WHY DO THESE CROWDS SHARE IDEAS?
WHAT DO THEY GET IN RETURN?

Crowds are motivated by the need to gain gratification for their efforts which may range from monetary incentives, gifts and prizes to appropriate recognition. Everyone has ideas and the sheer opportunity to be able to contribute acts as an additional motivation factor.

9. HOW DOES ONE BENEFIT FROM CROWDSOURCING?

Wisdom of a larger group is always better than of an individual. The ability to reach people outside existing networks frees the clients from skewing the inputs. Engaging via crowdsourcing is qualitatively and quantitatively faster and cost effective compared to similar talent within the client organization.

10. WHAT KIND OF ENTRIES CAN I GET AND HOW MANY ENTRIES CAN I GET?

Crowdsourcing is an open call for inclusion in a project. The quality and quantity of the entries is dependent on the task, the diverse base of the relevant crowd and the outreach to them are predetermined during project plan discussions. It is recommended that clients screen the number of participants and submissions based on the average time required to evaluate each crowdsourced input.

11. ARE CROWDSOURCED IDEAS ALWAYS DISRUPTIVE OR BREAKTHROUGH INNOVATIONS?

An analysis of past projects shows that clients receive submissions in 4 distinct categories. 40% of the submissions received are a validation of what clients are thinking, 25% submissions are unique but lack some critical aspect before implementation, 25% submissions are unique, need minor tweaking but independently have low impact on end goal and the remaining 10% entries are called the WOW Factors, are innovative and could potentially have a breakthrough impact on the end goal. We call it the 40:25:25:10 pattern.

12. WHAT ABOUT CONFIDENTIALITY & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

Clients can chose to get Non Disclosure, Non-Compete agreements signed and also chose to reveal limited information to outsiders. At the same time, it is sacrosanct for the client to provide a realistic task, challenge or project to the crowds since realistic briefs get realistic results. Moreover, all the content generated during the project is the intellectual property of the client.

13. HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM HIRING A MARKET RESEARCH OR CONSULTNG FIRM OR AGENCY?

Crowdsourcing not only covers all the aspects of market research, consulting and advertising but it also engages with the crowds allowing quick R&D;, presenting multiple and fresh ready to implement solutions and explores opportunities believed to be outside existing skills and domain on the client end. Along with this, a lot of insights, data analytics and brand visibility are generated by investing limited resources while working with the very people who are direct stakeholders in the clients success.

14. DOES THIS REPLACE MY INTERNAL IDEATION/ BRAINSTORMING PROJECTS?

Crowdsourcing presents a diverse set of probable solutions that may or may not have been thought internally or may have taken more time and monetary investment to achieve within the organizational ecosystem. It’s a great way to augment your efforts without taking away the decision making from your hands.

15. WHO USES CROWDSOURCING?

Companies, Governments, Groups and even Individuals have utilised crowdsourcing efficiently. The first known crowdsourcing project initiated by the British Government in 1714 figured out a great way to avoid accidents at high seas and lead to the invention of the marine chronometer. Till now, millions of clients have used the concept to their benefit. Companies like Unilever, Harley Davidson, Volkswagen are pioneers in leveraging this. Today Start-ups, Governments and other groups are also benefiting from the process. Challenges can be local, regional or global, crowdsourcing has the power to address them all.

16. ARE MY COMPETITORS USING CROWDSOURCING

1 in 3 brands, products or services are known to benefit from crowdsourcing in a variety of ways. We are certain that your local or global competitors have used Crowdsourcing and we’d be happy to share case studies of companies in your domain or with similar challenges / projects who have utilized and maximized results from crowdsourcing.

17. WHICH COMPANIES IN INDIA ARE BENEFITTING FROM CROWDSOURCING?

All Logos represented above are registered trademark of respective companies and are shown for graphical representation only.

18. I HAVE ENOUGH IDEAS. WHY SHOULD I LOOK AT CROWDSOURCING?

Interestingly, the very thought behind crowdsourcing is that anyone and everyone can have a great idea. While no one is always sure that theirs is the best idea, crowdsourcing allows you to explore and delve deeper into the diverse set of ideas to pick the best one. It goes back to the 40:25:25:10 pattern mentioned above.

19. WHICH ARE THE MOST FAMOUS EXAMPLES OF CROWDSOURCING

Did you know: The Indian Rupee Symbol was crowdsourced by the Reserve Bank of India. The constitution of Iceland was crowdsourced. Wikipedia, Oxford Dictionary, True Caller are all based on the concept of Crowdsourcing. Companies such as Budweiser (AB), General Mills, Coca-Cola and Nokia use crowdsourcing to co-create product and service ideas on how they can add more value to their customers’ lives.

20. WHAT IS THE FINANCIAL INVESTMENT ON A PROJECT?

The investment required on a crowdsourcing project is determined by multiple factors – objectives and goals of the project, the relevant crowd, its size and access, duration of the project, cost of gratification, on ground logistics and cost of technology. Though these are the outright costs, other investments include time and people. A great project always needs the involvement of people from the client end to provide the brief, its details and of course to adjudicate the inputs of the relevant crowd involved.

21. WHAT IS THE TIME & PEOPLE INVESTMENT?

Crowdsourcing projects are customizable according to the client’s convenience. Depending on the time and people the client can invest, a solutions provider works to conceptualize, execute and deliver results.It’s recommended that appropriate stakeholders, like CXO’s, their teams or the people who will implement these ideas, are involved. A combination of decision makers, execution team members and/or agencies privy to the process ensure appropriate checks and balances when evaluating inputs thereby creating the right environment for a complete buy-in at the time of execution.

Many clients completely outsource the project, including the adjudication process and involve industry partners, domain experts and external jury members for support and authenticity.

22. HOW DO I CALCULATE ROI ON A PROJECT?

The ROI depends on the task presented and goals being set for the project. Short-term challenges seek tactical response and long-term challenges call for strategic plans along with immediate action items.Using crowdsourced inputs against preconceived notions or as a validation tool lowers the ROI. Clients using crowdsourcing as an opportunity to resolve short and long term challenges experience a higher ROI. Your crowdsourcing partner can help you set up your ROI Metrics.

23. WHY SHOULD I USE A SPECIALIST CROWDSOURCING SOLUTIONS COMPANY?

The strength that a crowdsourcing solutions company brings is focus and specialization. Their top priority is to optimally meet your objectives by facilitating out of box thinking without dealing with the mundane tasks.A Crowdsourcing Solutions Company provides end-to-end services. They bring together people most relevant to clients’ product, services and brands to ideate, address and provide game changing solutions for the challenges the clients face today or foresee on the horizon.

The solutions provider introduces the clients to the world of crowdsourcing and hand holds them through the entire process. From defining the brief, establishing objectives, laying out the process, identifying, reaching out and screening relevant crowds, collating and providing the submissions to jurors, setting up the evaluation criteria, organizing and working with any external agencies involved, monitoring and managing your entire project and ensuring a win-win for the clients as well as participants, they do it all, that too at your convenience.

24. CAN A CROWDSOURCING SOLUTIONS PROVIDER WORK WITH CROWDS THAT I HAVE?

Yes, if you believe that you already have the right crowd that can be valuable to your project. In such cases, the solution provider’s role is retrofitted for consulting on project objectives, brief generation, defining process and motivation, providing technology and logistical support, whetting your jurors and overseeing the actual execution project. They’re happy to take up the part that you feel stressed with.

25. DO CROWDSOURCING SOLUTIONS PROVIDERS FACILITIES IMPLEMENTATION OF IDEAS ALSO?

Clients can engage the solutions provider post the project for the execution process to work with their team. A Solutions Company will take the mandate to involve the right partners, agencies and execution team to implement the chosen ideas. The final ideas may be a hybrid of the crowdsourced ideas and in-house brainstorming results. A good crowdsourcing solutions provider will be happy to be involved in a manner that suits your needs.