As a concept that’s native to the digital age – and only ten years old – you’re perfectly justified in not knowing your way around crowdsourcing, even if you’re a dedicated entrepreneur. There’s a novelty to it that’s instantly appealing to many of us, and it has been frequently put to good use during its short lifespan, but you should certainly learn as much as you can about it before jumping in with both feet. Your idea is valuable, and you have to make sure it’s a business method that does justice to the kind of company you want to build.
Is It Right For You – and Your Idea?
The first thing you should understand is that the efficacy of crowdsourcing depends on the fundamental nature of the idea. Some undertakings are well-suited to a business model that requires a large number of small tasks be carried out. It’s especially helpful to fields that prize data points culled from a wide range of sources, like police waiting for tips from the public at large to solve a case. Although computers are generally better at number crunching, there’s a certain variety of large-scale data analysis that’s better suited to the human brain: pattern recognition.
Computers can take in a lot, but they can’t always tell you what they’re looking at. Human beings have a special facility at contextualizing what they’re taking in and yielding actionable information. For many undertakings, this can mean the difference between success and failure. Whether you’re researching cultural trends or finding exoplanets, sometimes an army of eager volunteers is the only way to get it done right.
However, large-scale tasks that require more than simple pattern recognition – or indeed, less – might better be left to the experts and their machines.
What to Expect
If you have a great idea, there’s sure to be a lot of enthusiasm out there to bring it off. But as the entrepreneur (or as a member of the management team), you have to be willing and able to guide the process of innovation. Crowdsourced work can be imperfectly performed and imperfectly judged, especially when those performing the task lack the expertise to render an informed judgment. Management can expend a great deal of energy separating out what’s actually valuable, and they may themselves fail to distinguish correctly. Worse yet, improperly managed crowdwork can end up guiding the project towards a different goal entirely. Remember: it’s your idea, and your vision for a company. However much you learn about the possibilities you hadn’t considered, you have to keep your overarching purpose front and center if you’re going to achieve what you set out to do. Crowds can be infamously unmanageable, and they’ll require a clear vision if they’re going to follow the straight and narrow path.
How Ideator Can Help You Get Started
As a platform that encourages open innovation, Ideator is well suited to help you begin experimenting with crowdsourcing. You can be matched with users who have the kind of expertise you need, and moderate the flow of ideas as you see fit. By starting your entrepreneurial journey with Ideator, you’ll have the tools you need to get only the best from the crowdsourcing experience.
‘The Promise of Idea Crowdsourcing’
‘When Crowdsourcing Fails’
‘Crowdsourcing the Stars’
‘How to Crowdsource Anything’