Crowdsource to Solve New Problems

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 2, 2011

Most businesses are occasionally confronted by challenges that are surprising, complex, and new. In fact, you are lucky if such problems arise only occasionally; in certain industries and markets, they are much more frequent. It’s likely that you or your employees cannot solve every one of these problems.

That’s where crowdsourcing can be helpful. Crowdsourcing is a way to import talent and creativity to your business by putting potentially thousands or tens of thousands of people to work on your problem. Innocentive, for example, is an organization formed to match problem-seekers with problem-solvers. Some of society’s most complex challenges have been posted on the site and many workable solutions have been suggested.

You can try that on a small scale with your business. You can hold a competition for ideas and reward appropriate submissions. Learn more about crowdsourcing to see if it has applications for your business and then begin your search for solutions. It’s an approach that greatly expands your business’s potential.

Lisa Gundry
Professor of Management
Director, Center for Creativity & Innovation
DePaul University

Reader Comments

Erin Schumpert

May 5, 2011 12:30 PM

Hi Lisa,

Crowdsourcing is getting a lot of interest from companies. The ability to cast a call to a community to solve problems and uncover fresh ideas is delivering tangible, visible value to social efforts.

Much of this is happening internally with employees, but looking outside the company walls will start heating up more.
Crowdsourcing is allowing businesses to extract real business value from their greatest assets: their employees and customers. “Social business” is quickly becoming the norm. With the plethora of social networking outlets out there today, it has not only become inevitable that "social" be integrated into business, it is necessary. Companies are realizing the benefit of breaking down the information silos typically seen within businesses, and facilitating increased levels of communication among employees, customers and partners.

Cisco understood the benefit and power of crowdsourcing with the launch of an external community for their global innovation I-Prize contest, powered by Spigit. This contest, launched back in January 2010, was developed to encourage collaboration among entrepreneurs and help identify new potential billion-dollar business ideas for Cisco. For more about Cisco's I-Prize competition, powered by Spigit, you can check out the following video: http://tinyurl.com/23as5gy

Thank you,
Erin

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