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.