Friday, December 17, 2010
CROWD SOURCING: LET SOMEONE ELSE DO YOUR JOB?
Crowd sourcing can be looked at as an application of the wisdom of crowds concept, in which the knowledge and talents of a group of people is leveraged to create content and solve problems. Crowd sourcing can be broken down in to three categories: creation (like Wikipedia); prediction (like Yahoo! Buzz); and organization (like Google).
WHAT IS AT STAKE?
Jeff Howe (June 2006) first proposed the idea of Crowd sourcing.” Whether you believe crowd sourcing is a gimmick, or the next big thing, it’s important to note that the idea is still in its early, some would say idealistic, years. How it was proposed, and what it may become, will be largely based on how it is interpreted. “
POINTS ON CROWD SOURCING:
An analogy with outsourcing, in which work previously done by company employees is offered to, and performed, by a group of people on the Internet – the news is, the introduction of financial motivation, on the part of people doing the work, who get paid for performance; the company doesn’t make employees from the crowd.
A new capability brought on by the Internet: the ability to work together to a shared goal without the need of company’s infrastructure.
Mass customization and collective customer commitment, are models of crowd sourcing. In mass customization, the crowd is reacting to an open call to design an individual well; in the second, the main focus of participation of crowd is the selection crowd sourcing (product management) task.
MY OWN VIEWS:
TRUTH: Business-to-business brands are or subject to regulatory requirements and need a different approach.
TRUTH AND GOOD: There are many a consumer-focused brands - these would benefit from a totally open creative process.
TRUTH BUT BAD: Many times crowd sourcing projects are evaluated by the quantity not the quality of received submissions.
TRUTH: There are two perspectives (benefit or disadvantage) about crowd sourcing’ concept: engagement of an undefined group, and uninformed execution.
TRUTH AND GOOD: There’s a delicate balance between encouraging participation and surrendering control. Engaging consumers has always been essential for establishing brands. Of course delivering the process of brand manager to the crowd is another thing altogether.
TRUTH BUT BAD: As it is commonly practiced in the marketing world, crowd sourcing forgoes strategy and outsources execution.
TRUTH: Crowd sourcing works well for large-scale initiatives where gathering data would be otherwise impossible.
TRUTH AND GOOD: One thing is gaining insights into how consumers think about a given brand, but it is not a problem solver.
TRUTH, GOOD OR BAD? The crowd is just another committee that produces results that are incredibly average.
THE FUTURE AND SOME QUESTIONS:
Crowd sourcing and its counterpart, co-creation have started to become business strategies, if not actual models. Diverse companies have aggressively pursued ways in which customers can help create or inspire new products (co-creation). These practices, accelerated by the web and social media, raise all kinds of questions:
Will crowd sourcing and co-creation, actually increase innovation? (Using peoples talent)
Will they reduce the cost of development and design, and along with it, the salaries of people who create for a living?
Will they help in solving those large, unsolvable problems; everything, from health care to education, to global warming?
Will they change the traditional relationships between employers and employees?
Are crowd sourcing and co-creation here to stay, or are they simply convenient alternatives to business as usual in a miserable economy?
Even after the global financial crisis comes to an end, the new marketplaces that support crowd sourcing will continue to evolve, offering more engaging company’s efficient and creative ways; the company will look for help in the crowd.
WHY? If businesses can find access to more ideas for less, they will, down economy or not. AND, today’s customers and prospects, actually want a voice and a say, in influencing a brand and its products.