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What can crowdsourcing do for you?

10.02.2013
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When selling the Connect & Develop program within Proctor & Gamble, A.G Lafley reinforced repeatedly how important tapping into external knowledge was to the company.  For every one expert inside P&G, there would be dozens more of equal ability outside of the company.

From those early days, crowdsourcing has entered the mainstream, such that it is now in widespread use throughout the world.  As with any innovative endeavour of course, some crowdsourcing initiatives do better than others.  One major reason for failure is a lack of focus, with companies not really having a good idea of what it is they’re looking to get out of it.

To help, here are five potential outcomes you can hope to achieve from crowdsourcing.

  1. Crowdsource new ideas -This is arguably the most common form of crowdsourcing, with the likes of Dell and Starbucks well known proponents.  The outcome in this scenario is the generation of a lot of new ideas for the company or sponsor.
  2. Crowdsource the evaluation of ideas – Whilst ideas are no doubt great, the implementation of them is equally important, if not more so.  The crowd can play a role here too by helping to evaluate the ideas that come in, sorting the wheat from the chaff and allowing the sponsor to determine where to invest their resources.
  3. Crowdsource talent discovery – When you’re inviting solutions from a wide range of sources, you’re not just inviting solutions but also talented people to come into your world.  Companies such as GE have not just crowdsourced end products, but they have used their crowdsourcing as a means of identifying smart people they want to work with.
  4. Crowdsource content – In the modern world of content marketing, often a crowdsourced event can be buzz worthy in its own right, with participants generating content and provocative ideas that generate coverage for the sponsor.
  5. Crowdsource new relationships - If your relationship with customers is traditionally a transactional one, crowdsourcing can be a great way of building a new and deeper relationship with stakeholders.  Getting them involved in your business in such an intimate way can build lasting relationships.

These are just five of the principal outcomes you can look to achieve with your crowdsourcing.  There may be more, but hopefully these will give you enough insight to ensure your own efforts don’t lack the focus required to succeed.

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