Confused by crowdsourcing? You’re not alone — though it’s getting more popular by the day, this approach to innovation is still new to many business leaders. But with 30% of CEOs worried that they’re not risking enough for growth, and 69% fearful of competitors stealing their business, it’s time to learn the ropes. In a nutshell of 6 easy steps, this is how crowdsourcing innovation works.
1. Your Company Has a Problem You’d Like to Solve
Easy enough. All companies have issues that could benefit from an extra set of ideas or a fresh perspective. The best part? It doesn’t really matter what the problem is — somebody out there has an opinion on how to fix it. From streamlining processes to improving the customer experience to inventing new products, the crowd can help.
2. You Share the Problem with Your Crowd
It’s up to you who belongs to this network, but remember, the bigger the crowd, the more knowledge and experience you’ll have access to. So, consider your options: you could tap into employees, specific groups of employees, partners, customers, or all of the above. Each group is going to have unique abilities to contribute.
3. The Crowd Takes a Crack at It
This is the fun part, where you get to see two really neat things: one, how the people in your network perceive the business challenge at hand; and two, what unique solutions they have for solving it. Depending on the size of your crowd and the engagement tactics you’ve put in place, the influx of ideas could resemble a waterfall or behave like a leaky faucet. There are things you can do about the problems presented by either, but we’ll get to that in a minute — the good news is that, by the time even one idea comes in from the crowd, you’ll already be thinking differently and more effectively about how to address your problem.
4. The Best Ideas Win
Chances are, once suggestions start pouring in, it’ll be hard to stop people from collaborating, commenting, tweaking, and continuing to submit new or modified solutions. That’s where Planview IdeaPlace’s Crowd Science comes in, using our patented algorithms to sort the best ideas from the most popular ideas, and automatically graduating the best ideas for experts to weigh in on. And while the upside is ending up with a bunch of different things to try, it can be tricky to figure out where to start, what to invest in, and how to determine if the outcomes will be successful. This is another place that the crowd is really useful in conjunction with a smaller, select group of decision-makers (a.k.a. people with insight into budgets, workloads, and timelines). Together, it’s much easier to determine which ideas are the most valuable and viable, since doing so minimizes bias and still accounts for varying levels of expertise and experience.
5. People with Awesome Ideas Get Noticed
Reward the participants who submit winning ideas with a little something and a lot of recognition. It’s not just a great way to give credit where credit is due — it’s an amazing way of engaging people, encouraging future participation, and incentivizing others in the crowd.
6. You Make Amazing Products (and Money)
To find the best idea, you need to have a lot of ideas, and crowdsourcing gives you that opportunity. Great ideas make for equally great products, and great products have both selling and staying power.
The tool you use to share business challenges and solicit ideas is important, too. An email blast leaves you no way to identify the best ideas, and a virtual suggestion box leaves you with even less than that. Planview IdeaPlace crowdsourcing software does all the hard work for you. With a highly intuitive interface backed by patented algorithms and cutting-edge game mechanics, you’ll be able to discover the best ideas, predict their future value, and get them to market faster than competitors still using one-way pipelines (email) or disjointed innovation teams (no offense to R&D. We know it gets lonely in there).
Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today.