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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Crowdsourcing - Is It Right For Your Organization ?

article it update crowdsourcing
The social Web has presented many opportunities for companies to communicate directly with their customers and discover what customers want out of their products. By leveraging public opinions on social Web sites, organizations can gather important consumer information, fish for new product concepts, and collect feedback regarding current products on the market. Although crowdsourcing has been around for a while, the social Web has helped companies perfect the crowdsourcing model so that it has recently morphed into a vital tool for some businesses.

What Is Crowdsourcing?
Although the concept wasn’t new, crowdsourcing officially received its name in a June 2006 Wired article by Jeff Howe. Through his blog, Howe defines crowdsourcing as “the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.” Crowdsourcing is very similar to the concept of open-source software, which calls upon the passionate software development community to improve and create programs by making changes to a publicly available software code.

It’s likely that you’ve seen examples of crowdsourcing but were unaware of the term. For example, Frito-Lay has used crowdsourcing to find a Super Bowl commercial for Doritos over the past few years. This year, the winners of the commercial second place), and $400,000 (for third place). Contestants had to write, shoot, and submit their own video entries while Frito-Lay simply promoted and facilitated the contest.

How To Use Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing can take many different forms, but it always involves leveraging “the crowd” to come up with innovative solutions for your organization. In order to maximize the benefits from crowdsourcing, be sure your initiative has a specific goal and is mutually beneficial for your organization and the crowdsourcing participants. For example, cash prizes and other awards could be given out if you choose to have a contest of sorts. This will help entice the most creative and innovative thinkers to participate in your project and it won’t look like you’re trying to get something for nothing.

Crowdsourcing is used by a variety of different industries and can be something as simple as a media outlet asking its viewers to submit questions prior to interviewing a public figure. This lets the media outlet deliver what its viewers really want to know about.

Similar crowdsourcing techniques have also been used by government organizations before deciding on budget cuts and legislative initiatives. By providing a forum for discussion, you are able to collect ideas and hear what your customers want and don’t want from your organization.

Is Crowdsourcing Right For You?
Most large organizations that use crowdsourcing employ it as just one tool in their toolbox. However, startups can use crowdsourcing as an inexpensive way to get ideas and objectives rolling before they have the resources to hire an in-house creative staff. It’s up to you to decide the best type of crowdsourcing technique for your organization. ▲

9 Rules for Successful Crowdsourcing

A Guide to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing: Advice From Leading Experts

Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business

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