Although the term crowdsourcing may have varying definitions, the basic idea is to channel the collective intelligence of a large group of people to fulfill business-related jobs. Traditionally, these tasks would be performed by the company or either outsourced to a third-party entity. One of the inherent benefits of crowdsourcing is the substantial reduced cost of labor. While the appeal of discounted labor is undeniable, the ability to stretch the talent pool and gain a more intuitive insight into the expectations of a customer base are the greatest benefits of sourcing through the crowd.
To effectively crowdsource, businesses assign different processes or tasks to outside groups. Then, in most cases, those assigned tasks are completed by anonymous people. By utilizing people from around the world, the crowd method allows individuals to take on a small part of the larger task. In effect, the crowd completes the task in the most effective manner possible. A few of the most lucrative reasons today's corporations are embracing crowdsourcing are listed below.
The Global Suggestion Box
Sourcing through the crowd provides a virtual global suggestion box that is full of lucrative ideas and attractive approaches to improving products and processes. Some corporations work through various sites that provide the infrastructure for soliciting input. Other entities create their own methods for propositioning a problem that will be addressed by the crowd. For example, the United States Navy created multiple generations of a Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI) that was designed to assist in addressing several different themes such as potential piracy threats and the future use of energy.
All of the Small Things
Many corporations and businesses have a long list of microtasks that must be completed, but would rather not have the higher-salaried employees complete the mundane tasks. While using the normal labor pool is an option, it's not the most cost effective method for fulfilling the meticulous duties. Instead, these business entities have been turning to the crowd for a labor pool that gets paid by the task instead of a salary. The individuals behind the computer screen are from around the world, and they provide a valuable workforce that would otherwise be unavailable. For example, several businesses require videos to be transcribed or for primary decision makers to be identified from a large list of businesses.
Expert Advice On Call
It can be very costly to have an expert consultant as an advising party on any type of contract. It can be even more expensive to have the same consultant in a staff position offering the same level of advice. Instead of either of these relatively costly alternatives, corporations have been going to the crowd for the most beneficial solution. Crowdsourcing offers access to the same consulting expertise for significantly shorter or more customizable periods of time. In most cases, corporations have been able to enlist the services of an expert consultant for the specific amount of time that is required to provide the solution to the tough questions or difficult scenario. Although the per-task rate may be high, corporations are receiving specific advice at a much lower total cost than what would be charged to contract the same level of expert. A prime example of this type of scenario is with GLG Research, which maintains over 250,000 consultants who provide advice for a range of fields.
Because of the astronomical benefits, today's corporations are eagerly embracing crowdsourcing. Sourcing through the crowd has been proven to increase creativity and productivity while reducing the research and labor expenses exponentially. Utilizing the Internet to request feedback from a community of active and sincere customers can greatly reduce the collective time and money spent gathering information through the traditional focus groups. In addition, corporations have found that sourcing through the crowd is a great way to foster excitement for upcoming product launches. Today's corporations are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to cut costs and deliver better products or services. Sourcing through the crowd effectively offers a solution to both goals.