I was recently asked – “What are your top five tips for individuals / organizations in approaching and management crowdsourcing?” This is a very relevant question for businesses and organizations looking to adopt a crowd-centric mindset.
Through my exposure and experience while working with some of the best minds in crowd-centric innovation, I recognize some key elements to approach and manage crowdsourcing in any organization. Here goes!
1- Incorporate crowd participation within the DNA of your organization: The worst approach to crowdsourcing is treating it an add-on marketing gimmick. Crowd participation is more than that. It means actively engaging your stakeholders in a two-way conversation and creating shared value. So it helps to incorporate this mindset with the organization mission statement and build it from the ground up.
2- Begin with internal processes: It probably looks easy to engage your external stakeholders, but companies that get most of the crowd is when they cultivate internal processes first that opens up communication channels with their employees and close partners. Charity must begin at home.
3- Cultivate your community: Your crowdsourcing efforts can only be as good as the community it is intended to engage. Attracting and retaining an effective community is a long and important process and these efforts need strategic thinking and foresight.
4- Crowdsourcing is about giving away some control: Now this may lead the legal departments at your company to go bonkers but crowdsourcing is all about giving away power and control strategically. This can be scary and catastrophic if not thought out but if done well, it is very rewarding. This also reinforces point #1, I make above.
5- Keep on iterating: Once your organization opens up communication and has invited innovation, internally and externally, the next question is – what do you do with this information? Organizations should realize that simply using crowdsourcing and open innovation is not the end; rather it is the means to your goal that could be – creativity, efficiency or funding. Ensure that your organization has a plan to follow up on crowd output, iterate and refine your campaigns.