The recent economic down turn has made many organizations look at the way in which they do business, especially when it comes to developing and launching new products to market.
Most of these companies thought nothing of spending millions in the research and development of such products, knowing that they could just tag a few extra bucks onto the final price that would offset the costs of R&D. Money is tight all around now, which means organizations can’t afford the risk of spending countless millions on product development. It also means that the buying public no longer has the disposable income to pay top dollar for those new products.
This is where crowdsourcing comes into play, with companies and the buying public coming together to create new products in a way that is truly affordable for everyone. There are those that argue that using this method means that innovation will take a hit, but advocates of crowdsourcing counter that the general public has a way of thinking outside the box, as opposed to simply playing it safe with a new product. It would appear that those who believe in crowdsourcing innovation are winning the battle, as more and more companies turn to the public for new ideas.
It could be argued that crowdsourcing has proven effective for many companies because of the fact that many great minds are actually out of work right now and looking for a way to stay active in the field they love. With that notion comes the feeling that crowdsourcing innovation might start to deliver diminishing returns when the economy recovers and those people head back to the workplace. It’s not really an argument that holds much water, especially when you consider the large financial carrots that organizations are willing to dangle in order to get ideas from the public. There aren’t that many people pulling in $50,000 each year, which is a number that is not that uncommon in the crowdsourcing world.
Crowdsourcing innovation doesn’t always have to come from the outside, though, with many companies running in-house promotions, with financial rewards once again on offer. Think about the average workplace and you can easily imagine a great number of employees talking about how much better the company would be if they were put in charge. Crowdsourcing allows them to put their money where their mouth is by delivering ideas and concepts that they feel will benefit the organization in one way or another. The jury is still very much out on whether openly crowdsourcing will be around for the long term, but if you look at the number of companies adopting the stance of using it for innovation, you have to assume that it will be. The use of social media and interactive portals, such as mystarbucksidea.com have made it possible for companies to not only get valuable feedback, but ideas of what they can provide that will really make the buying public sit up and take notice.