One of the first businesses to acknowledge the potential of crowdsourcing was Procter & Gamble, with CEO Alan Lafleyannouncing in 2000 that he wanted more than half of the
to come from outside of the organization
a remarkable challenge given that this is an organization with$80bn of revenue and 7,000 researchers, but one that has beenachieved via a variety of crowdsourcing mechanisms includingtechnology brokers who actively go out and look for ideas.IBM has put similar emphasis on crowdsourcing, despite beinghome to 3,000 researchers and six Nobel Prize winners.Its
initiative, for instance, is used as an alternativeto beta testing, instead releasing products while they are still indevelopment to a close community of customers who can playwith them and provide feedback, involving them in the innovation
is another well-documented success,enabling customers to have input into the innovation process.And if it is a crowdsourcing platform that brings customers intothe process, it can also deliver additional benefits. "In one senseit means that real customer desires can be expressed in waysthat could not be before. Any number of emails, telephone callsor letters asking for something would never result in anything.But if you have the tools to actually get a clear idea of what yourcustomers want and you can tap that, it can be a far moreeffective way of responding to customer needs," says Dawson.