Monday, September 27, 2010

Would you "Crowdsource"?

For those of you who are not in the know, I work as the Head of Sales & Marketing at a leading ground handling services provider. In a bid to infuse some new energy into our brand, I was doing some research on creating a strong branding image to sort of…clean house and re-create our brand vision; something that is not often done in this part of the world. While I was doing my research, I chanced upon a whole new concept called “Crowdsourcing”, an idea based on a company outsourcing tasks usually performed by an employee or a supplier/agency to a group of people or a community that do not have a direct vested interest in the company. The outsourcing is usually done over the web and the company uses the collaborative results or finding to reach its objective.

This is the latest trend that companies in North America and Europe are following for their marketing needs although it can be used for much more than marketing requirements/problem solving. How it works is: the company broadcasts the problem on to a group of problem solvers or “the crowd” though a medium (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc.). The crowd then sends in its version of solutions. In some advanced online communities the crowd may sort through the solutions, finding the better ones and submitting them to the company. The best solutions are then registered as property of the company and the winners get a reward from the company.

The concept itself existed as early as the 40s and 50s but presumably, the internet and web technologies do make it a whole lot imaginable …and cheaper!

Although I don’t completely agree with this ideology, I think it is new, it’s innovative and does end up bringing new ideas to the table. After all, once you’ve worked in a company for a few years you tend to get a bit stale in your thinking process and a group of people that don’t work for your company may actually have better dieas than you sometimes. That doesn’t make them better than you, it just means their minds are fresher than yours in this regard. Perhaps you can use this opportunity to take a vacation!?!?!?!

The bad side of crowdsourcing is the informality and lack of precedures. More importantly lack of monetery motivation for the people involved or "the crowd". Additionally, competitors can plant their own people in these communities to give wrong feedback and ruin the program and in some cases the reputation of your company.

Either way, it is an interesting concept and I just thought I’d share it with you guys! What do you think?


L o r d R a j said...

Brilliant concept. And, more helpful / effective than most people actually believe it to be.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I suppose more and more companies wil start using this concept. It's similar to focus groups in a way where people focus on solving a problem or provide the necesary feedback to a problem.

BarryUno said...

Yes, it is more effectiev than most people think although it's got its downside like I mentioned in my post.

Overall if done right, it's an inexpensive way to give your potential customers a product that they helped create or fix (in a way).

Anon, It's a bit similar to focus groups except that the focus group is selected by the company and can be more controlled whereas "the Crowd" may be sporadic and informal.

Rubick said...

Cool concept.Its like outsourcing but cheaper!;-)Maybe the US will start substituting outsourcing with crowdsourcing.It will help them save a lot of cash.But how accurate is the results?

Anonymous said...

New trend in outsourcing. Very workable and cost effective, if you have a strong community or follower groups.

These trends are visible across FB, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Works good, if the deadline is not too near and incentives are good.

Thats what Apple did iPhone Apps.