The 3 Biggest Things the “Crowd” Learned at Crowdopolis
The Span of Accomplishment via Crowdsourcing is Huge, and GrowingNetworking throughout the intimate setting for 2 days the “thing” I heard the most from the attendees was: I had no idea this many different things could be done by Crowdsourcing. From the very “small” microtask of having a a cell-phone equipped “crowd member” snag a photo and report a downed street sign or a fresh pothole, all the way to highly complex Open Innovation challenges that create something brand new or solve a challenge in a brand new way, the audience had their eyes opened to the possibilities, and that is a huge step in the right direction.
The Volume of Enterprises Already Utilizing CrowdsourcingSAP, Walmart, eBay, NASA, AT&T, Ferguson, Kimberly-Clark and several more global enterprises all had speakers at this event discussing how their team is currently utilizing some form of Crowdsourcing. Some enterprises gravitated towards the micro-task environment of a Mechanical Turk, while other enterprises were sourcing new ideas, while others still were building new applications and end-user products via crowdsourced methodologies. The same audience members who were surprised to see such a variety of work and innovation, were also impressed to see such wide enterprise buy-in from global players. Several folks I personally spoke with on-site came away feeling “armed” with content and the right-level examples they felt they needed to successfully shepherd crowdsourcing back into their world. That’s quite powerful.
Crowdsourcing is NOT MagicWhether it was Lionbridge’s tale of helping the IRS or uTest’s impressive study covering their mobile device testing and rating work with USA Today, there was a central theme to many of these use cases that wasn’t hammered into the attendee’s ears, but was repeated often enough to be clearly understood. To achieve repeatable success in Crowdsourcing (and Open Innovation) there needs to be a process and a way to manage what is a new way to get things done. Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation have “quickly” evolved from the “one off” contest mentality and for certain platform providers – including TopCoder – has shifted heavily into how we enable clients to repeat the process and scale the effort for their enterprise. The practice of Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation isn’t about throwing some challenge over a wall and expecting brilliance in return. It is a new way to produce and to innovate. Like anything else worthy of mastery, it will take your effort. You will help yourself if you’re engaging a platform that has a defined and structured process that you can easily getting going with, learn from, and then master. Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation are entering that really unique period during any growth phase when the “how it is applied” takes center stage. This is an exciting stanza because with each passing day, some team, enterprise or individual is, in their own way, innovating, by recognizing and experimenting with a new way to apply the methodology to get something brand new done or created. Showcases like Crowdopolis are essential in that they bring all of these tales of application together, under one roof… with perhaps a gigantic gorilla swinging from the very top of the building.
image credit: dailycrowdsource.com