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Organisation's Outsource Innovation - Crowdsourcing

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In today’s competitive world, business organisations need to constantly innovate to be at the top of their business. But one cannot constantly build new products and test them in markets and discard them if they fail. It’s a costly way. Another way companies employ is to research and develop ideas into products and services for the future business growth. It’s a proactive approach but still its costly too if they still fail or don’t get enough business to justify the research investment. Crowdsourcing is the latest tool increasingly being employed by business organisations. They are asking their customers to provide them the ideas for the products they are ready to buy! How smart!

First let me explain in short about Crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is a process in which the task is smartly broken into micro tasks and these micro tasks are outsourced completely to a network of people known as the crowd. This process can occur both online and offline. It is different from the conventional outsourcing in the form that here the task or problem is outsourced to a rather undefined public than a specific related body.

Crowdsourcing may produce solutions from first timers or volunteers working in their spare time, or from experts or small businesses which were unknown to the initiating organization. Today all the action has moved online. The safety of protection of one’s identity on the web provides as a good stimulus for the participants to take part in web-based projects. Also the attention shifts from the individual to the task at hand. Since it is such a broad term and has so much of flexibility of use, it has such great potential to be employed in various sectors of economy.

There are a number of motivations for businesses to use crowdsourcing to accomplish tasks, find solutions for problems, or to gather information. These include the ability to offload peak demand, access cheap labour and information, generate better results, access a wider array of talent than might be present in one organization, and undertake problems that would have been too difficult to solve internally. Although it can be difficult to crowdsource complicated tasks, simple work tasks can be crowdsourced cheaply and effectively.

Nobody likes disappointed customers, but if their complaints are handled well then they become a loyal advocate of your business. Also you should understand that no matter how great your product or service is, you cannot please all of the people all of the time. Take it for granted that, customers are going to experience problems. So, dealing with complaints, and even encouraging them, should be a key part of any growing business’ strategy. Complaints are like feedback to company about what aspect of their product or service is out of alignment of customer expectations. They should be taken in positive light as it is also a chance for the organisation to build relationship with its customers. But the fact remains they are a necessary drain on important resources of the company which could have been employed to more productive use. So how does this platform can be used to turn a non-revenue generating activity to revenue generating one? Someone combined crowdsourcing with customer feedback and found the next tool for innovation.

Companies have realised that in this booming social media age, people love to communicate on the web and they are using crowdsourcing as a medium to receive ideas and feedback from customers. Companies then focus their research efforts on providing the customers what they demand. This reduces their time and cost of bringing a new product into the market; at the same time customers also get what they want quickly. Thus it’s a win-win situation for all parties involved.

Most visible form of crowdsourcing is customer forums on the organisations websites as a feedback tool so they can be near and read the pulse of their customers and come up with business solutions that keep their customers satisfied and happy. Open Innovators website enlists a number of companies who have tread along this path and the links to the respective projects they have undertaken.

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