What is Crowdsourcing, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations to get new ideas?
Definition of Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing is a method for using an organization’s entire “crowd” of employees, customers, business partners and other relevant stakeholders to generate new ideas and come up with solutions to business challenges. Crowdsourcing is beneficial because more minds are working on the same challenge, which allows problems to be solved more creatively in a faster period of time.
Description of Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing is a useful tool for facilitating innovation because, by tapping into the expertise and minds of a vast “crowd” of people with different backgrounds and experiences, it allows an organization to source a wide variety of ideas. Crowdsourcing offers the company fresh perspectives and the ability to discover ideas that wouldn’t have otherwise been thought of because outside sources offer unexpected solutions. With a diverse group of individuals, an organization can also share and test their new product and service ideas with a wide audience before putting in the time and resources to develop an innovation. Crowdsourcing gets customers and followers involved in the organization, which helps generate loyalty because these external stakeholders feel as though they have a voice in the future of service offerings regardless of their level of professional experience.
Five steps are typically part of most Crowdsourcing efforts:
Step 1: Design the Crowdsourcing exercise and provide clear instructions. In order to complete this step, consider the goal of crowdsourcing. Are you looking for ideas for a product, service or process? What is the scope of the problem and who will be in charge of the crowdsourcing efforts? What criteria will be used for determining the success of a suggestion? What the time-frame for the crowdsourcing effort? Determining the answer to these questions will make the crowdsourcing process clear for all involved.
Step 2: Choose a Crowdsourcing platform. Determine if a social media platform will be used to obtain ideas, the organization’s website, or a third-party software platform. It is advisable to automate as many aspects of the process as possible.
Step 3: Promote the challenge and recruit the crowd. Consider how to best market the challenge so that excitement is created, and participants engage in the process to provide their ideas.
Step 4: Manage the process. Answer participant questions as they arise and communicate deadlines or any notable changes that participants should be aware of. It is during this step that participants should be made aware of the criteria for success, the manner in which their ideas will be evaluated and how they can continue to improve their suggestions.
Step 5: Select an idea and fund it. The winning idea should be presented in a way such that it brings acclaim to its originator and highlight how the idea will be funded and developed for the future. Relevant stakeholders should also consider and clearly indicate whether the winning participant will also be involved in the idea implementation.
Tools & Templates
The tools that Crowdsourcing managers can use to guide the process include social media platforms, third party software applications and various documents to communicate and track ideas.
upBOARD's Online Crowdsourcing Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Crowdsourcing processes, upBOARD’s online Crowdsourcing tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
70-20-10 Rule, Agile Innovation Process, Brainstorming, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Context Canvas, Crossing the Chasm, Crowdsourcing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Disruptive Innovation, Empathy Interviews, Ethnographic Research, Experiment Canvas, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Matrix, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Minimum Viable Product, Open Innovation Process, Outcome Driven Innovation, Painstorming, Phases & Gates, Rapid Prototyping, Saturate and Group, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Startup Innovation Management, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model, Value Proposition Canvas and White Space Innovation.