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Crowdsourcing: By the Masses, For the Masses


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So, Brexit just happened. Whatever consequences may come is another story. But it happened and things will never be the same again. However, since this is a business article, and not a political piece, let’s talk about companies putting their future in the hands of the crowd.

Crowdsourcing is the process of getting services, ideas, content or funding, usually online, from a large group of people. The main benefit is that it leverages a virtually unlimited pool of minds, expertise and experience. It helps to promote and grow the company at a relatively low cost.

Cheap labour may not necessarily equal high quality. As well, without proper systems and processes, it’s a bit complicated managing a large group of people from diverse backgrounds and languages.

There are many different types of crowdsourcing. iStock is about crowd creation, American Idol, crowd voting, Yahoo Answers, crowd wisdom, and of course, Kickstarter, crowd funding. And then there’s…

Lego

Lego Ideas encourages fans to suggest new design concepts. At the same time, Lego gets to test the demand. If the concept gets 10,000 supporters in 365 days, it qualifies for review by Lego marketers and designers. The idea with the most votes is moved to production and the creator receives a 1% royalty on the total net sales of the product.

Here are some ideas from fans:

1.    Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary

lego ghostbusters

Released in 2014 to celebrate the film’s 30th Anniversary. Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore, Ectomobile ‘Ecto-1‘ and ‘Slime’ finally got their own Lego collection.

2.    LEGO Minecraft

lego minecraft

Released 2012. One is about building stuff in the virtual world, the other is about building stuff in the physical. What a perfect match.

Starbucks

My Starbucks Idea was launched in 2008 as a platform for innovation and customer feedback. Customers can suggest improvements, view ideas or see ideas in action. Despite providing no monetary reward or financial compensation, Starbucks has received over 100,000 ideas so far. It has since produced the likes of Cake Pops, Hazelnut Macchiato, and free Wi-Fi to name a few.

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Hazelnut Macchiato

free-wifi-starbucks

Besides helping businesses grow, crowdsourcing also brings people together for large causes. For instance, reCAPTCHA. It’s a program that requires you to decode squiggly words so as to prove that you’re not a robot. By doing that, you’re actually helping to translate old documents – probably thousands by now. Mind = blown.

recapthca 1

recapthca 2

Another example is Zooniverse – the world’s largest and most popular web portal for people-powered research. It allows ordinary people around the world to participate in scientific research ranging from astronomy to humanity. In one of the projects ‘Galaxy Zoo’, volunteers have helped classified shapes of galaxies that computers otherwise can’t, because humans are better at analysing patterns.

zooniverse

Creativity doesn’t only belong to any one individual nor is it centralised in an ad agency. Everybody is creative, and people are more than willing to take on the challenge.

However you look at it, B2C relationships have changed. Consumers hold the power. They’ve always held the power – except their voices are now louder when it comes to brands they care passionately about.

Crowdsourcing is a great tool to build and maintain strong relationships. Nonetheless, it should always be a tool to guide, and not make decisions.

How can crowdsourcing help your brand?
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