Sunday, 24 August 2008

The internet makes us smarter

Previously, I touched on the concept of crowdsourcing (i.e. outsourcing idea generation to selected stakeholders) but never really delved into its implications for our work. Now, I am inspired to after reading about Brain Reactions a new site that facilitates competitions for ideas.

Whilst many examples of crowdsourcing exist, this one is worth watching as beyond an initial free brainstorm which you can do for free, it will charge to use its tools and access the wisdom of its primarily Gen Y crowds. Assuming a critical mass of idea-makers, this could be a good toe-dipping exercise, for companies who want to get some experience in this area. It will be interesting to see if the business takes off.

Perhaps the best example of full integration of the crowdsourcing ethos into an existing business is Dell's Idea Storm. At the time of writing, Dell's IdeaStormers had generated 9834 ideas. These ideas can be commented upon, promoted and ultimately adopted by Dell who regularly report which ones have been used in its product launches.

Since the infamous Dell Hell situation, Dell has successfully re-engineered its business putting its customers centre-stage. Embracing crowdsourcing has clearly enriched its business leading to further innovation. This innovation seems to know no limits. Dell has just launched its latest online community, Digital Nomads, dedicated to the evolving digital workplace. Amongst other things, visitors are invited to contribute to the 'What is a Digital Nomad' white paper. This site is a great resource tracking cutting edge nomad developments.

So although embracing crowd sourcing requires a new approach to doing business, it seems clear to me the benefits outweigh any disadvantages. Although I'm not promoting general uptake as the drivers are different for every organisation and each situation needs to be assessed individually.

FYI: The Digital Nomad twitter feed is a treasure trove. Latest tweat is all about Nomad Marketing.


Bruce Eric Anderson (bruceericatdell on Twitter) said...

@Ann -- thanks for your post and your kind words about putting customers front and center. is all about what the community of nomads needs, not just Dell-centric stuff, but broader implications of working remote, traveling the world or traveling your neighborhood. Stay tuned for more good stuff.


Ann Longley said...

Bruce - Thanks for your feedback. Will definitely continue to watch Dell and Digital Nomads. Am following you on Twitter and will check out the Facebook Group. Ann