Crowdsourcing and Lean: A Perfect Pair

Posted by Sean Carmichael on Aug 22, 2014 11:17:06 AM

CrowdsourcingCrowdsourcing is one of the most popular and effective ways that businesses and even governments are facing challenges that they come up against today. It is an extremely effective way to gather the most information possible and get the most innovative solutions. On the opposite side of that, we have many organizations that are continually trying to do more with less. This is why we have also seen a rise in the popularity of Lean Management solutions, or the Toyota Production System. What many don’t realize is that, on a very fundamental level, these two system go hand in hand.

Lean Phase 1

With Lean Management, the goal is to reduce waste in the work process of an organization. This is done by evaluation the processes within the organization and determining where positive changes, or Kaizens, can be made. In Crowdsourcing these are viewed as challenges. And with lean, these opportunities for change should be approached in much the same manner. Do not only ask the person that is doing the job if their job can be made less wasteful, ask other people, who see them do their job, to see if they have a more innovative solution as to how the process can be changed or improved. That is where Value Stream Mapping comes in.

Lean Phase 2

In the next phase of Lean you are going to organize a team that is going to evaluate the process where you want to eliminate the waste. This team should be made up of people who are knowledgeable about the business but not only the people that have their hands directly in the process. This is your sourced crowd. Then everybody makes suggestions on how to improve the process. The challenges are identified throughout the process and solutions are devised. Each suggestion is evaluated on whether or not it improves the process and whether or not it is feasible to implement. By having a group of people who are part of the process and those that are not you have Crowdsourced solutions that are sure to be more innovative and effective.

Lean Phase 3

After it is determined which Kaizens can be implemented and in what time frame they will be completed, the group redesigns the work stream. The end result is the Lean Value Stream Map. This is the version of the process that will provide the most value to the organization and to the end consumer. Produced via Crowdsourcing for a Lean result; showing that two processes that seem unrelated work in great harmony.

Need help with your next Crowdsource project? Make sure you contact InnoCentive!

Topics: Innovation Insights, Challenges

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