The Growing Value in that Crowd- Encourage it Out.

Finding Value in the CrowdThe use of crowdsourcing: the goal for me, is to engage and move the crowd towards a new direction, by encouraging out individual thinking and discovery, searching for combining these contributions; ones that lead to novel, new answers that move a challenge forward into a solution,  one that has improved value over the existing.

The community is encouraged to form, lead and build, taking ideas and thinking onto discovery journeys, seeking out and building on each other’s contributions.

The individual building blocks (like Lego) connect into a collective whole, that piece together, progressively being combined, to solve a problem, to frame something that leads to an answer of meeting the challenge initially set up.

The overriding need is to release the forces within the crowd, by seeking out and gaining their engagement and connection as something ‘they’ believe they can contribute into; as here lies the discovery of many, combining and ‘feeding off’ of each other, to change the existing into the preferred.

This is the third post on crowdsourcing that might offer some general background statements. Part one is here and part two is here.

Crowdsourcing can be powerful if harnessed well.

After a fairly detailed exploratory working through crowdsourcing in this mini-series, I wanted to offer my ‘take’, to help our thinking though in formulating clearer positions in this, to see its increasing value as contributing into an innovation management system.

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So Are You Thinking Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing does have a real potential in my mind but does seem to have some formidable issues to work through, to be well understood and managed.

Partnering with experts in this field will help overcome many of these barriers or at least have reassuring suggestions for resolving them. Let’s take a look at some of these here in this post.

Certainly, I think over time we will learn what works for us and what becomes leading practice, so we can become a lot clearer on crowdsourcing position and value to us, within our context, terms and circumstances.

That is why it will be really hard to cite ‘best practice’ as each crowdsourcing challenge will need different inputs and will yield very different outcomes for each unique challenge or problem raised.

Continuing with my exploring crowdsourcing. Part one is here. Within this second post, I want to offer some different thoughts to work through around the issues and concerns that came out in my researching the subject. There is a part three coming out in a few days to finish this mini-series off.

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Evaluating Crowdsourcing – offering a bright future?

Crowdsourcing 1Crowdsourcing has been growing in interest for some time to change our thinking in innovation discovery. It can hold a key for us to help solve vexing questions, real challenges, and connect different voices, that builds into a community that can combine and open up the fields of opportunity for new solutions.

Crowdsourcing does have both the potential to point towards disrupting possibilities, extends the concept of open innovation into a wider source of participation from a diverse community not possible to reach by other means as effectively. It can simply connect a ‘crowd’ of people to a common purpose. All in all, if applied carefully it can provide you with a leading edge of innovation knowledge and insight.

I wanted to step back a little and take a more measured look at crowdsourcing over three posts. This is part one.

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That sudden surge within the crowd

crowd surge 2Have you ever been caught up in a sudden surge within a crowd, when it all suddenly moves, temporarily sweeping you off your feet, making the pulse race a little more until you actually begin to enjoy the sensation?

It brings out a sudden rush of emotions. It can be intense, it moves you in a particular direction, often you are struggling to regain control, and everything around you heightens in your awareness. You love it or you hate it.

Either way it gives a real rush.

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The Challenges Being Faced by Innovation Consultants

Ignoring different voicesFrom my perspective I’ve been looking at a real challenge today, that many consultants offering innovation services are not providing real sustaining consulting value to clients, only ad-hoc services.

Unless this changes it will continue to erode the clients’ confidence in these service providers and they will be seeking increasing internal solutions to tackle their problems. I think if this trend continues it will be a mistaken course.

Consultants are not addressing many of the changes occurring and ignoring opportunities to adapt to different circumstances, they are simply not putting up a strong case of their engagement  by redesigning their business models or opening themselves up to different forms of collaboration.

In many ways, the consulting industry specializing in innovation is its own worst enemy.

It is highly fragmented, often highly specialized in certain innovation practices, and with much of the advice comes from a cottage industry of independent practitioners, caught up in executing and little time for advancing their own knowledge.

There is this sense that consultants are resolutely staying very internally driven, self-promoting, still trying to convey the story of innovation mastery, when clearly this is lacking in rapidly changing market and technology conditions and due to this staying ahead of the knowledge curve are actually failing the client.

Many consulting firms have spent the last decade trying to make themselves more efficient, going from craft work to selling one solution as a mass production to many, to yield ever-increasing fees, so as to gain a re-occurring return on a one-off invested solution. Innovation solutions simply need to be crafted to each set of circumstances mostly, in my opinion and that conflicts with this repeating model.

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We are transcending traditional industry and product boundaries

Global connectionsIt seems this is the era of the digitally savvy entrepreneur. With the dizzy array of choices, combined with technology prowess and ‘plugging’ these into ‘seen’ customer needs, they are setting about disrupting existing businesses and establishing new ones, on an ever-increasing global scale.

So what and how is the incumbent meant to react if it is an existing market? What should they do when they realize the traditional markets where they have safely operated for years has suddenly been overtaken by a new market creation, one that has gone outside old borders in industry and product.

Markets that are in the hands of the technically savvy entrepreneur are to be sliced, diced and recombined, are providing totally disruptive approaches to existing business models. If they get the factors right, hit the needs of customers in their design, understanding, agility in responding to learning and adapting, ability to be fast to market and capable of scaling up really fast, then they transform spaces, leaving the established players desperately struggling to find answers and catch up.

The whole world of business is changing radically.

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Opening up our innovation to stay relevant

Staying RelevantOur whole understanding of innovation is changing; there are numerous shifts occurring. We are opening up our thinking in where and with whom, to collaborate.

We are evaluating and changing our existing focus from closed (internal orientation) into ones that are having a far more open stance. We are searching for more collaborative innovation (external orientation) combining external partners into more ‘collective thinking’.

The shifts taking place are offering us the promise of “extra acceleration” that is needed to improve our innovation performances from concept to market delivery. Or, we hope it is!

Collaborative innovation is also leading us to higher chances of achieving greater impact and success, as nearly all novel ideas lay are mostly outside the organization’s domain of understanding. We need to always bring the knowledge inside and build from it.

As we increasingly include the customer and their more exacting needs within our understanding, these multiple collaborations and dialogues are building this better internal understanding to align our innovation with specific opportunity, relevancy and need.

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