Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crowdsourcing Pitfalls and possible Remedies

Crowdsourcing has received a fair amount of coverage in the local business circle that any business leader may be tempted to believe that he can throw most of his business challenges or creative needs to the crowd and he will get the optimum results in no time. Frankly this is far from true, and unless one is treading with cautious and right knowledge Crowdsourcing might disappoint and results in scepticism.

To sum it up – Just the way how outsourcing began few decades ago and reached current so called mature state, Crowdsourcing needs to be developed by companies with a long term vision in mind and the focus should be to identify, experiment, adapt and fine-tune strategies to derive the maximum benefit from this initiative.

Let us look at common pitfalls and their possible remedies.

Pitfall 1: Just like the dotcom snag ‘if you build it they will come’, Crowdsourcing faces a challenge in believing ‘if you ask, they will tell’

Remedy: Today the information inflow for an individual is reaching alarming high, I delete most of the things pushed to me, and try to ignore everything around what I am perusing. So, to get a slice of that attention span, you must select your target crowd. And you can do that by carefully creating a list of attributes which you think some of which an individual must have before you ask for participation. This preparation does not mean that you would have means to actually pinpoint those characteristics, but this will greatly help in rejecting avenues not to go after.

Pitfall 2: Now that I have an opportunity to ask, why settle for anything less than the sky!

Remedy: You must not make it too easy or too difficult for someone to contribute, challenge them but don't overwhelm them. Keep it too simple, but not so much that you get bombarded with so many solutions that you will struggle to separate the gems from the others.  Make it too complicated and you are bound to miss your target crowd because of their low attention spans or even overawe them. 

Pitfall 3: If I am getting a revolutionary solution then I might decide to pay something for it.

Remedy: Easiest way to get over this issue is to simulate and put yourself on other side of the equation, would you bother to spend time on something which does not promise clear evaluation and reward criteria?
Pitfall 4: We are always open for collaboration and receive great ideas, check our website there is a section for submitting an idea.

Remedy: Yes, it is nice that you have a open call open always, but barring few companies which you can count on fingers, how many of them have any ideas coming their way? Fix for this is to have a very specific challenge statement, which has clear end date, sufficient rewards, and clear promotional plan to the right crowd. 

Pitfall 5: How many ideas or solutions will I get?

Remedy: Though how many ideas or solutions you get might be a immediate need to show in the status report but see how quickly you can get on to bottom like and ask – will it be better than my current plan of getting ideas and solution, will it be less time consuming and will it cost me less.

So, there you are, do tell me if you have another interesting Crowdsourcing pitfall you have come across.