The Strategist

Crowdsourcing: How Crowd Can Help Business


03/11/2015 - 15:47



Development of the Internet and the globalization of the labor market gives companies the ability to attract people from outside to solve various business problems, choose the best performers and save a significant amount of money. Considering the fact that last year freelancers all around the world have earned $ 1.6 billion, remote project work is in great demand nowadays. Crowdsourcing, unlike freelancing, is more suited to time-consuming tasks that require enormous amounts of time and performers.



In business, especially in economically developed countries, the fashion for crowdsourcing is booming. It is used very widely for solving creative problems, such as the creation of commercials or design development. For example, the Japanese company Muji, engaged in the manufacture of furniture and interior unusual form, uses crowdsourcing to collects ideas for their products: the company's website has IdeaPark, where anyone can submit their rack or lamp design idea. The company passes the most interesting offers to ts designers for more detailed studies. Also, Muji exposes new items for discussion and collects ideas for improvement.

American pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly has created an online platform Innocentive, where research problems of chemistry and biology are placed. Scientists from around the world offer their ideas, and the company enters into a contract with authors of the most successful of them. Today, the community of scientists Innocentive has several hundred thousand people and now not only Eli Lilly, but also other companies like P&G, Henkel and BASF.

This year, ABBYY launched a crowdsourcing translation project from English into Russian courses global educational project Coursera. They created a special cloud platform based on its solution SmartCat. The project involves 5,000 people, and they are not only professionals but also ordinary people with good knowledge of the English language.

A similar project - to attract volunteers to translate from one language to another - has launched WhatsApp messenger. Its essence lies in the translation of various sentences and phrases that describe the application. Anyone who knows and is interested in foreign language, may register at the site of the project and participate in the translation service in Arabic, Danish, German, Russian and many other languages.

Pros
  • It reduces company’s costs on many tasks’ performing. For instance, it is more profitable to attract different specialists for addressing any non-core task than to hire a special employee. Implementation of the project does not require a lot of money - often it is enough to own website or social networking. In addition, in many cases, participants do not need to be monetary rewarded - involvement in the work for well-known company becomes the best promotion or even a chance to see their idea embodied.
  • Crowdsourcing provides access to the talents all over the world, as it gives the opportunity to bring to the project a huge number of people and choose the best among them.
  • The strategy is indispensable to work with the audience and the society as a whole. It allows people to engage in company activities and raise loyal and dedicated customers, as well as to get a detailed study of their needs and receive advice on improving their products first hand.
  • It provides high-speed task performance because hundreds of people are tackling the problem.
 
Cons
  • It is difficult to predict the participants’ work quality in such projects. You can get thousands of brilliant ideas, or none of sensible thoughts.
Despite this, crowdsourcing has great business potential. With the advent of technologies to achieve synergy by combining the intellectual efforts of the participants, its possibilities and scope have grown considerably.
 
Do I really need crowdsourcing?

It make sence to use the strategy, if:
  • You need fresh ideas and views on the business side.
  • You want to establish a good rapport with his audience.
  • You need innovative solutions or to be working with large amounts of information - there is no need to contrive crowdsourcing, if you need to prepare just an annual accounts.
  • Its organization will be cheaper than paying a professional employee.
  • The project is not local and has wide geography.
  • You are willing to allocate staff to filter "noise" - viewing, organizing and dropout huge number of proposals.




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