Just two decades ago, the worldwide web was an uncharted universe. It was so unmapped, companies became billion-dollar brands based on organizing it. Netscape, one of the world’s first widely adopted browsers, turned company co-founder Marc Andreessen into the new economy poster child. A few years before, Yahoo! was audacious enough to be the Yellow Pages for the Internet – and the online experience was small enough for it to succeed for an entire generation.

It was easy to delight online because just being online was a new delight.

Today, Internet interactivity is the norm. When is the last time you called an online experience “delightful? Internet pages become the default, as much as junk mail was our baseline experience of the past. The online experience has spilled well beyond our PCs, too, entering our mobile phones and jumping into self-contained apps. It is difficult to surprise and entertain and engage with the competition for our attention.

The BOLD Awards couldn’t come at a better time. In the past, creating a simple, stable Internet experience was enough. Now, you need to build something that truly captures hearts and minds. Now, creating the boldest online experience and engagement actually means something.

We also need crowdsourcing more than ever before. For millennia, media meant creating something in our proverbial cave, then pulling out into the public crowd, fully formed, for their consumption. Things are moving too fast now.

  • First, the audience itself is used to playing a part in the creation process. Feedback loops from online comments, then social media and, finally today, uploading user content empowered the audience to give their take.
  • Second, as creators, we cannot possibly be agile enough to create content close enough to what the audience wants. Attention spans grow shorter, but even shorter is the tolerance for products, ideas and media that don’t fit what the audience needs. The standard for engagement is much higher, and businesses are competing for that attention and eager to beat others to fulfilling the audience’s desires.

Being Bold in Online Experience and Engagement

For instance, Mathesia takes the crowdsourcing concept and expands it to internal mathematical levels. Instead of limiting solution resources to statisticians and academics, Mathesia opens up challenging ideas to the public and allows it to brainstorm the best ideas. It is all from the community: companies can launch its math-based project on Mathesia, the network of Mathesia-based experts offer different solution proposals and the company rewards the most promising concept.

In the past, the same concept would have been done all in-house. Startups and small businesses would have little-to-no access to high-caliber mathematical experts. Skilled mathematicians would be rarely utilized unless they had a high-profile position or several letters behind their name. And the two groups would have a difficult, if not impossible time being connected together, as would startups with established mathematicians or established businesses with novice mathematicians. Businesses like Mathesia not only stand out because they utilize the crowd for delight, but they wouldn’t exist without the crowd.

Being Bold in Online Experience and Engagement

In a partnership with the innovation platform H-Farm, the first-annual BOLD Awards celebrate how far online engagement and entertainment have come. Most importantly, the shortlist of the best entries in each category will be chosen by you, the crowd.

Happening April 5th in Venice, Italy, The BOLD Awards has ten crowdsourced categories: the Boldest Open Innovation, the Boldest Crowdsourced Online Platform (sponsored by Mathesia), Boldest Crowdsourced Marketing & Advertising Campaign, Boldest Space Frontier Challenge, Boldest AI, Boldest Scientific Project, Boldest Crowdfunding Campaign, Boldest Blockchain Platform, Boldest ICO/Cryptocurrency, and Boldest Future Robot. There are also awards for the Boldest Young Achiever Under 25, and Boldest Innovator. Vote for the best of each category from February 8 2019.

We can expect more entrepreneurs to launch startups with the current climate in mind, just as Polaroid founded today would be Instagram or yesterday’s Ford would be today’s Tesla. Crowdsourcing is an integral part of the business experience. The BOLD Awards will highlight companies that are best primed for the future and, when it comes to giving you the best online experience and engagement, which businesses are bringing you the future today.

Main image credit: Molly Maulleigh