Crowdsourcing Meets Communities: New Approach for Companies?

Recent Posts by Stefan Lindegaard

InnoCentive, Netflix Prize and Style Your Smart are just a few examples of crowdsourcing initiatives that pay cash prizes for selected or winning contributions. This seems to work just fine although you always have to find the right balance on what to offer for contributions. Some competitions only use very small cash prizes or just gifts such as iPods or clothing.

One example is the Tomorrow’s Urban Mobility Services contest held by the BMW Group. Here the prizes are not that great, but perhaps they believe that big, cash prizes will just attract many junk ideas. Perhaps they believe that quality input comes from people who care more about kudos and recognition than big cash rewards?

Personally, I think it is a question of striking a proper balance and finding out what works for your company and community. I am quite sure InnoCentive, Netflix and Daimler have learned a lot from their initiatives and that they constantly improve on striking this balance.

As I did some research on rewards and recognition, I found some great posts by Open Technologist. In one post, Crowdsourcing Example – People Participation In Crowdsourcing Platforms, they got into an interesting topic. Rewards do have to be direct; they can also also be indirect.

Open Technologist used the example of TopCoder, a software development house for outsourced projects that is different from its competitors as the work is crowdsourced to a community of over 240.000 members from over 200 countries in a competition format.

In the post, Open Technologist lists these benefits of contributing to TopCoder:

Direct benefits include:

• Financial compensation for winners
• Financial compensation for members who do not win but do place highly

Indirect benefits include:

• Members get to see how winners solved a problem and therefore pick up new techniques
• Components allow community members to work on parts of a project where they want to and where their areas of expertise can be utilised
• Feedback is given whereby developers are told where they need to improve
• Peer recognition is provided via developer ratings which are publicly available

Note: Overall, we can add non-cash prizes as direct benefits as we often see this in crowdsourcing initiatives.

This makes me think that many – not all – companies can benefit from including indirect benefits in their crowdsourcing initiatives. This definitely requires more work and co-ordination but since many of those initiatives already are about marketing as well as getting new designs or ideas, it might be worthwhile investing even more on this.

Why? This approach can help create new ways of connecting with customers or users; crowdsourcing meets communities. This holds an interesting potential for many companies.

It would be great to get your feedback on these ideas. Please also share if you know of corporate cases that merge crowdsourcing and communities.

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Autor: Gabriel Catalano - human being | (#IN).perfección®

Lo importante es el camino que recorremos, las metas son apenas el resultado de ese recorrido. Llegar generalmente significa, volver a empezar!