Six platforms to get results from crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing Platforms and People

Originally posted at Trends in the Living Network on July 26th, 2010

MyCustomer.com has just published a nice article based on an interview with me, titled Ross Dawson: Six tools to kickstart your crowdsourcing strategy.

After beginning with some background on the topicality of crowdsourcing, the article goes on:

But suddenly crowdsourcing seems to be reaching some kind of critical mass. From reports that Microsoft crowdsourced the making of Office 2010, to David Cameron asking the UK’s civil servants for money-saving ideas via the Government’s Spending Challenge, it’s not just that interest in it is peaking, it’s that organisations are already bringing crowdsourcing plans to fruition.

This all comes as no surprise to Ross Dawson, a globally recognised futurist, strategy advisor and best-selling author – and at last month’s Creative Sydney event he delivered a keynote entitled ‘The Future is Crowdsourcing’.

“We are now at the opening phases of what is a global talent economy,” he explains. “Talent is now everywhere and far more available. We’re seeing professionals increasingly working independently rather than necessarily in large corporations; we are seeing retired people who are interesting in continuing to be engaged and entrusted to projects. And clearly we have access to people around the world. So we are moving from a world where the talent was all inside big organisations to a very fluid world where the talent is available globally. And there is now a whole host of tools and platforms to be able to access all of this talent in a wide variety of ways.”

After running through some of the examples I gave in the interview, including Procter & Gamble’s embrace of open innovation, IBM’s alphaWorks initiative, and Dell’s IdeaStorm, the article goes on to highlight six of the 14 categories of crowdsourcing described in my recently launched Crowdsourcing Landscape, quoting me extensively from our interview and mentioning companies that were covered in our landscape.

Here are the six types of crowdsourcing mentioned in the article, together with excerpts of what I was quoted saying about the category. See the excellent article for complete details.

1. Distributed innovation platforms
“They find more than half the people that solve the challenges on Innocentive and these other distributed innovation platforms already know the answer. So why should they solve that problem again when they can find someone else who already knows the answer?”

2. Idea platforms
“These sometimes go under the guise of idea management software, but these are ones where people inside organisations – often – submit ideas or proposals for cost savings, or new products, or new services, or process efficiencies, and then they collectively assess and rate and vote on and select and evolve and refine and build on those ideas to become the innovation that will drive that organisation forward.”

3. Innovation prizes
“Anybody anywhere can enter their own projects and ideas, others can vote on them and build on them and use the wisdom of the crowd to make them more effective, and from all of those submissions somebody wins a quarter of a million dollar prize.”

4. Content markets
No direct quotes from me – Threadless and Red Bubble are mentioned.

5. Prediction markets
“For enterprise software companies it is notoriously difficult to forecast sales. For many reasons, the sales pipeline that is put into CRM systems is often inaccurate. However, if you then ask the salespeople to predict what the sales are going to be for that quarter and you aggregate all of their opinions, you can get a far more accurate view of what the actual sales are going to be.”

6. Competition platforms
No direct quotes from me – DesignCrowdCrowdSpring and Guerra Creativa are mentioned.

Ross Dawson is a leading futurist, keynote speaker, author, and Chairman of the Advanced Human Technologies group.

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