How to crowdsource your way to anything

Hannah Morgans

Categories: Communications

As the crowdsourcing search for the Malaysian Airlines plane goes viral, we look at what crowdsourcing is and how it can help you.

Crowdsourcing can be used to the advantage of many; athletes are using it to raise funds, businesses are using it to increase engagement and DigitalGlobe are using it to look for a missing plane.

In short, it’s a great way of getting work, content or funding from the masses. But in order to increase engagement, it has to be done right. Helping people or projects is always going to have a wide appeal, it also helps if the process is simple. DigitalGlobe are using their Tomnod platform for crowdsourcing satellite imagery in hope that it will create a lead to the missing plane. Users are asked to tag potential wreckage, oil slick, life rafts or anything interesting or suspicious, putting otherwise helpless people to good use.

Design Crowd is another good example. It enables enterprises to draw from the creative talents and specialist skills of the public and pay for a winning bespoke design. Peers can also login and discuss the entries, welcoming critical review and spreading the word of the venture.

But what can you learn from crowd sourcing?

In communications, increasing engagement of the ‘crowd’ is key. So, if the buy-in of the target market is your end goal, why not make it your starting point? Next time you’re launching a new project, get your clients and/or employees to input into your strategy, after all, it’s hard to discard something they have invested effort in. It sounds rudimental, but too often a new scheme can launch without any input from end users.

Another great example of crowd sourcing is Kickstarter, a site which enables creative projects to raise financial backing within a deadline. If the target isn’t met, the project remains unfunded, no money is taken and it’s back to the drawing board.

We are the champions, my friend

Applying these techniques to communications in the workplace, Benefit Champions (employees who have input, have been educated in a scheme and are prepared to shout about it) have proved really effective. One of our clients recently used the Benefit Champion method to encourage healthy competition amongst representatives, who drove employee participation of their flex scheme, ‘My Choices’. The tactics generated a buzz and saw participation in the scheme rise significantly.

When it comes to measuring increased engagement we have our work cut out as it’s a pretty tough aspect to measure. Submission stats are awesome but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Kindle the right message from the crowd, to the crowd, and increased engagement will happen organically.

Have you been involved in crowdsourcing either as the crowd, or the organiser? Would you consider using this method? Let us know your thoughts…

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