Tag Archives: Crowdsourcing

HBR: Working with Crowds to Innovate or Solve Problems

Harvard Business Review, April 2013

Harvard Business Review, April 2013

TrendsWatch 2012 identified crowdsourcing as one of the seven major trends affecting museums, allowing more people to volunteer in meaningful work.  If you’re not familiar with crowdsourcing, it’s a “process of soliciting content, solutions, and suggestions from an undefined set of participants via the Internet.”  The April 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review includes two articles on working with crowds in different ways:  one to innovate and the other to solve problems.

In “Using the Crowd as an Innovation Partner“, authors Kevin Boudreau and Karim Lakhani claim that “for certain types of problems, crowds can outperform your company.  You just need to know when–and how–to use them.”  If you’re hesitant to work with large groups on a project, the authors have identified four ways that best use crowd-powered problem solving and how to manage them:

  1. Contests (example: Longitude Prize)  “The most straightforward way to engage a crowd is to create a contest.  The sponsor (the company) identifies a specific problem, offers a cash prize, and broadcasts an invitation to submit solutions.  Contests have cracked some of the toughest scientific challenges in history, including the search for a way to determine longitude at sea.”
  2. Collaborative communities (example:  Wikipedia).  “Like contests, collaborative communities have a long and rich history.  They were critical to the development of Continue reading