In June of 2006, Wired Magazine published an article by Jeff Howe entitled, "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" and the field of innovation hasn't been quite the same since. Although the adage "two heads are better than one" has been around for a very long time, the advent of the Internet means that today's solution-seeking group may have many more than just two heads. Since Howe coined the term "crowdsourced," many variations on that theme have sprung up in our vocabulary--crowdfunded, crowdsourced design and crowdwisdom being just a few--but the question remains: are crowdsourced solutions right for my business?
The definition of crowdsourced is relatively straightforward: "the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call." Basically, instead of delegating the job at hand to an internal division or a traditional outsourcing firm, the job is offered to an open forum of talent willing to work on it. This pool of talent can amount to huge numbers of individuals located anywhere in the world. Knowing the definition, however, doesn't answer the question "why?"
Crowdsourced solutions offer a company several advantages:
- Lower overhead - you pay creative staff only when you need them, you only pay for the solutions you chose and you never pay overtime, benefits, etc.
- Huge talent pool - you have an almost limitless number of creative talents available
- Flexibility - you have access to creative talent only when you need it, no rush to expand in good times, no need to lay-off in contractions
- Diverse ideas - your talent pool is incredibly diverse, with ideas coming from multiple disciplines and cultures, bringing a breadth and freshness of ideas to your solution like never before
So whether you're a small start-up working within a tight budget or a more mature organization looking to expand without shouldering the cost of an entire R&D department, consider a crowdsourced solution. Access a huge talent pool and only pay for a solution that makes sense for your company.