First of all, we have to explain what crowdsourcing is. We must say that the concept of crowdsourcing does not have only one definition. Actually, there are more than forty definitions of this concept and every author uses the one he or she likes more depending on his or her speciality. That is why the global meaning of crowdsourcing has lost during the last few years thanks to the huge variety of uses this concept has.
An easy way to explain this idea would be: “the process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people” or in an easier way, the process of connecting with large group of people via the internet to share their knowledge, experience, time and resources in order to solve problems.
Once we know what Crowdsourcing is, we must ask ourselves one question: Which is the role of this concept in the business world?
To answer this question we must connect the definition of Crowdsourcing with the business world, or even better, to the company’s world. If we do this, we will realize that Crowdsourcing is basically the act of every company taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined network of people in the form of an open call to try to solve the problems that the company has.
That means that every time that a company has a problem or need something to solve while doing business, what the company does is basically ask the people (the costumers) to help them. The customers use the network where everybody can share his knowledge about one particular subject. Later, once everybody has had the chance to give his opinion, the company takes all this information and make the correct decision.
From my point of view, I personally believe that this process of Crowdsourcing is very useful in the business world, especially for companies which try to sell one particular product. In order to understand better we are talking about, let´s give a real example:
“Doritos”, which is a company which produces one kind of chips, had the idea of making the customers participate in their marketing campaign of the “Super Bowl”. The idea was that people could design their own advertisement in order to be able to win a trip to watch the match of the Super Bowl (which cost was 25,000$) apart from the recognition of being the creator of the advertisement of the Super Bowl. The idea was completely successful and hundreds of people participated in it.
The best advantage of all of this is that the companies have the chance to get closer to their customers and which is even better, the opportunity to know what the people expect from their products. Once the company has reached all this information, they can start working on that and improve their products or change them in the way the customers want. The success of every company depends on how close this company is to its customers and how much efficient this company is by the time they try to satisfy their needs.
However, we must say that the Crowdsourcing process is not always successful. Another real example we can give is that “Levia”, a small company which produces medical devices tried the same promotion as Doritos but they did not get the same result because their reason was not good enough and the number of the people who could take part on it was really very small.
According to the last example, we have to admit that sometimes this process has some disadvantages:
– Some additional costs to arrive until a useful solution of the problem the company is trying to solve
– Bigger chance that the process fails due to the lack of motivation of the people who are involved in it because the payment (which does not exist sometimes. People participate in the Crowdsourcing without receiving any money). If the number of people who participate is too small, this can be a cause of the lack of motivation of the people.
– There are no signed contracts or any confidentiality agreement with the employees about the terms and conditions of the Crowdsourcing.
– The chance to have a wrong solution because of the malicious work of the people.
However, this process has a lot of advantages for the companies. Apart from being so closed to their customers, which is a very good point for the companies, Crowdsourcing allow the people to participate in a network and keep in touch with new technologies and make them feel good and satisfied while working in a community.
That is why I personally believe that Crowdsourcing is today, one of the best ways to connect every company to their customers in order to be successful while doing business.