Econsultancy recently published an article on eight brands that crowdsourced marketing and product ideas. Each example proves that crowdsourcing ideas for companies not only creates the opportunity to gather all sorts of ideas, but it also demonstrates that companies that engage not only their employees, but their clients and audiences can expect more success. For these companies, not only did they succeed because they were able to solve the challenges they put forward, but they were also able to create an opportunity for their consumers to get involved in the process and that created more buzz for the company in general.
For the most part, all of these companies accessed one of two approaches in crowdsourcing: social media and contest application. But we believe that all of these companies would have truly benefitted from an idea management solution like ours over what they implemented. And here’s why:
The Social Media Approach –
Social media is becoming a common place for a lot of organisations to hold competitions. The benefits to this are clear: it costs relatively nothing and it attracts users to get involved with your company via social media. But, as with most things, there’s a reason this approach is cheaper and that reason lies in the administration nightmare that is counting and cataloging entires. As quoted in the article, competitions can get up to 3,000 or more entries. For something like Levi’s Instagram challenge, looking over a bunch of pictures may not be that difficult of a task, but for idea generation and discussion, looking over that many entries especially on restricted social media channels like Facebook or Twitter creates a huge headache.
Not to mention, the entire point of crowdsourcing ideas is to truly get your audience involved. The operative word in social media is social, but many people are rarely social with companies online, unless they have something to complain about. Social media spaces for individuals can be incredibly personal and private, places where people don’t want companies to intrude. Hosting your competition on a social media platform may close as many doors for audience participation as it opens. Our idea management platform not only comes with analytics that help you not only gather but also analyse and interpret information easily, but it’s also open enough for individuals who aren’t on social media channels to access it.
Contest Applications –
There’s a huge sea of contest application software you can utilise to run professional competitions. The pharmaceutical company cited in the article decided to utilise a competition builder to host their crowdsourcing effort, but what all of these competition applications lack is the basis of what makes our idea management platform.
In the case of crowdsourcing, your “entries” are the ideas of individuals that you need to develop and discuss with your team. You need a place, not only to receive all of these ideas if you decide to run a competition, but you need a place to discuss and develop them as well. While competition applications give you a clear place to collect all of this information, they don’t provide the backdrop that helps you really decide which ideas are the best.
With our competition extension, you can create a solution that not only gathers those ideas but allows you and your employees to work on them. You can even allow for your own entrants to interact with their own entry, inviting in mentors to discuss their approach. We already have seen this process in action when working with RBS EnterprisingU, a business plan competition.
The end result of crowdsourcing is not just to get a few more Likes on your Facebook page or read through pages and pages of hashtagged tweets, it’s to really interact with your audience to generate great ideas. Idea management software helps you generate the innovative environment that will allow you to truly interact with your audience to create real solutions for some of your problems and possibly avoid situations like the Volkswagon Canada cited example, where “innovation” resulted in a plain black car.