Thursday, May 16, 2013

Is Your Business Using Crowdsourcing? Why Not?

Crowdsourcing is, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.


What you do is make an open call to groups within the public, offline or more commonly online (through the Internet) to seek help with a complex problem or to develop new ideas and opportunities. Sometimes the call may be simply to get help designing a logo, web page etc. The latter is commonly used by charitable organisations that do not have the resources to pay for all the goods and services they need.

I have used crowdsourcing to get help with computer system problems ie, I sent a message to a group of people in a computer forum and asked for help. This method of obtaining help is now very common and often supported by information technology companies.

Crowdsourcing has numerous advantages that include:
  1. Lower costs 
  2. Identifying business opportunities
  3. Making new acquaintances and partners through networking
  4. Solving complex problems
  5. Helping to spread branding and image (PR)
There are some negatives, but these can be controlled through good administration of the crowdsourcing activities your firm follows. Things like privacy and intellectual property issues could arise. One one occasion, I recall a person claiming to be an employee of an Australian Government Agency, but in fact he was a part of a crowdsourcing activity for an organisation receiving government funding. 

Your firm could increase it's image by providing selected responses to crowdsourcing requests. That would depend on whether you have the capacity to devote resources to the process. This is similar to supporting a local football team or a charity.

For more information about crowdsourcing, visit these sites:

Designcrowd: This is a group that will run a design competition for you and you can choose the final product
Crowdsourcing: This is an informative blog
Crowdspring, Kickstarter, ODesk: All are crowdsourcing providers. They have pools of talented people ready to provide your solution, graphic design or whatever you require.

Check out crowdsourcing and ask whether it is something in which you or your firm can be involved either as a provider or client. Comment here and tell us what you think of crowdsourcing. Have you had any experience with the process?

Robin

1 comment:

  1. I was interested to see this morning an article by one of my favourite bloggers and female business entrepreneurs, Valerie Khoo about a crowdsourcing firm 99designs.com. You can read it here: http://www.smh.com.au/small-business/managing/blogs/enterprise/going-global-how-one-melbourne-startup-did-it-20130516-2jnx4.html

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