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Extract: Managing internal change when crowdsourcing

Extract: Managing internal change when crowdsourcing

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Published by Crowdsourcing.org

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Published by: Crowdsourcing.org on Dec 20, 2011
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02/03/2013

 
Extract: Managing internal change whencrowdsourcing
By Ross Dawson on Dec 13, 2011
Chapter Six from "Getting Results from Crowds"
Mark down 2011 as the year the blue-sky concept of 'crowdsourcing'was legitimised in the Australian business community.The Commonwealth Bank is using it togenerate ideas for the future of online banking,IT security vendors are using it toevaluate the risk of  new malware and astronomy researchers are using it todetect distant stars and galaxies. Now a prominent Australian futurist Ross Dawson has co-written adefinitive guide to how large organisations might choose to use thecrowdsourcing concept to best effect.
Getting Results from Crowds
 offers advice, use cases and an analysis of 'service marketplaces'.But launching a crowdsourced project does carry its risks - and some of them are within your own workplace. What if your own staff feelthreatened by the idea? Dawson has given
iTnews
permission to publishan extract from a key chapter in the book, titled 'ChangingOrganisations'. Enjoy.
 
CHAPTER SIX: CHANGING ORGANISATIONS
 
"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous toconduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the
introduction of a new order of things.”
 - Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, andwriterThe opportunities created by crowdsourcing do not always come easilyfor established businesses.Companies need to change how they work, which may impact
employees’ roles and responsibilities as well as business processes.
Companies need to carefully manage the journey from recognising thebenefits of crowdsourcing through to embedding these approaches intotheir operations.
Dealing with resistance to crowdsourcing
 Any organisation that adopts crowdsourcing approaches needs to beprepared for internal resistance. Some of this may be a response tochange in general, however there can be specific concerns about theintroduction of crowd-based work.
The validity of these concerns will depend on the organisation’s
strategic intent of the use of crowdsourcing. If the intention is simply tocut costs through headcount reduction, the resistance is to be expected,and trying to present the initiative for something other than what it iswill not help the situation.
 
In this case there will undoubtedly be many broader organisationalchallenges than just introducing the use of crowdsourcing. In addition,using crowds to replace staff is unlikely to be a realistic or usefulobjective.Where the intent of using crowdsourcing is positive, in terms of 
 benefiting the growth of the organisation and its staff, people’s spoken
and unspoken concerns may have varying degrees of validity, but canalways be effectively addressed.Many perceive the use of crowds as primarily a tool for drivingefficiencies and lower costs, however even this can be reframed as anopportunity for individuals. Creating more efficient processes can freeup resources to enhance current operations and generate new revenueopportunities, as well as create new possibilities for staff.In many cases the most valuable uses of crowdsourcing have nothing todo with cost but rather create insight and outcomes that could not havebeen available by any other means. Genuinely approaching the use of crowds in terms of positives for the organisation and employees is theonly sustainable way to turn resistance into support.
Supporting adoption
 If you are bringing crowdsourcing into an organisation you need toconsider the potential resistance and whether there are particularmeasures you can take to facilitate adoption. This will depend on theculture of the organisation and the initial approaches you are taking tothe use of crowdsourcing. In some or even many cases, there will be nosignificant resistance or issues with adoption. In other cases strategiesfor adoption will need to be considered and implemented.

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