Crowdsourcing is Becoming the Partner of Choice to Drive Innovation
Crowdsourcing is quickly becoming the “partner of choice” to drive innovation. Companies from a variety of different industries are now tapping into the power of the crowd over segmented, internal innovation to launch new products or services.
Getting Innovation Down to a Science
Crowd science, the attempt to map the success stories of crowdsourcing and apply mathematical models to trace a pattern and repeat the phenomenon, has been popularized recently. However, collaborative communities driving innovation have a long and rich history. These communities have been critical to the development of many innovative products, such as blast furnaces, Bessemer steel, Cornish pumping engines, and large-scale silk production.
Many companies have successfully followed the crowdsourcing route to succeed in their innovation efforts. For example:
– Apple relies on the feedback and suggestions of its huge pool of users and developers spread across the world to develop new apps.
– Anheuser-Busch (AB), the world’s leading brewer, famous for its Budweiser brand, relied on more than 25,000 customer collaborators to develop Black Crown, another beer brand more attuned to craft-beer tastes. The development process included a competition between company brewmasters with consumer suggestions and tastings.
– Coca-Cola tapped into the social media for suggestions on marketing its products better. It also ran an open-sourced challenge, “Shaping a Better Future,” to create improvement ventures for education, youth employment, environmental issues, and healthcare as part of its corporate social responsibility.
– General Mills’ Worldwide Innovation Network (G-WIN) relies on crowdsourced partners to seek innovations in its manufacturing and marketing processes, as well as suggestions for new ingredients and improved packing for its food products.
– Unilever openly seeks external contributions from anyone for its varied projects, ranging from storing renewable energy to fighting viruses, and from reducing sodium in food to creating pollution free cleaning products.
Solutions, Not Serendipity
These success stories do not come automatically. The onus is on the company to tap into the crowd’s intrinsic motivation, such as the desire to learn and develop a well-coordinated environment capable of amassing and marshaling the diverse inputs of the crowd, and to channel them as innovation opportunities.
Mindjet’s SpigitEngage platform allows your enterprise to engage with — and gather ideas from — customers, partners and your team. It builds on the crowd’s energy and keeps them engaged through incentives and reward programs.