So wise, fast and really cheap. Come on! Who would not use Crowd Sourcing all the time for
everything? You can use it to build a living on-line encyclopedia, you can use it to source thousands of
designs for, say, T-Shirts and get the same crowd to help select the best. Instead of trying to do all
the development work on a piece of computer software and inevitably butting your one or two heads
against problems you can’t fix (or didn’t even spot) you can get a prototype or Beta version out there
and have an army of willing experts help you perfect it. Brilliant!
I have a marketing bias so let’s look at possible applications for marketing. You could build a platform
where any marketer, any time anywhere could post a problem (or opportunity) they are working on
and ask a crowd for ideas on how to solve it. It could be anything. Maybe you are a bank and you
want ideas for how to persuade the laggards to move to on-line banking. Maybe you need an idea to
unite all your disparate sponsorship properties. Maybe you need some new product ideas, a new brand
name, a fresh idea for a trade conference, some ideas for on-line brand content (the internet is a
hungry beast when it comes to content). Hell, you could even post your latest advertising brief –
would that work? Well it’s not unknown for Ad agencies to bring in some extra free-lancers to help
solve a brief – this way you could get to thousands of free-lancers, amateur or professional.
To make sure that you attracted the experts most likely to have the best ideas, the professionals or
semi-professionals, you probably should offer some kind of reward, a bounty if you like, for the best
ideas. Most of these people just love solving problems and get a certain personal benefit from doing
so, as well as maybe some professional kudos. But it seems only fair to offer some hard cash in return
for the commercial benefit you would get from a great new marketing idea. It would still be cheap and
it would, of course, be the wisdom of the crowd at cyber speed.
We could call it “Idea Bounty – the best ideas get paid”. Forget focus groups and consumer workshops
– if you have a marketing problem get it on our platform and we’ll guarantee that you get great ideas
you can use, all for the cost, as it happens, of less than a couple of focus groups.
This Idea Bounty could be huge – I’ll just check it out on Google, see if anyone else…..Bugger!
Someone has already done it and so far every client has got ideas they both liked and have
In fact, I discover, there are loads more crowd sourcing platforms for marketing, design, innovation,
all manner of marketing needs.
So is Crowd Sourcing the future? Yes – in fact it is the present, the train has well and truly left the
station. This is no fad. It is inconceivable that the genie will get put back in the bottle. More and more
people, for more and more things, are going to use Crowd Sourcing. Get with the programme. Who
says? – a bunch of geeky on-line nerds? Well the late and very great CK Prahalad based his last ever
book on the prediction that crowd sourcing will become the way of doing business – N=1, R=G – and
he was one of the most respected Business Strategists on the planet.
I can’t comment on whether T shirts and Computer Software will only ever be designed by a wise
crowd. I suspect not. But I do believe strongly that not every marketing problem will.