Developing a Framework for Successful Implementation of Crowdsourcing Initiatives

This series is consisted of snippets of information from my 2014 Master’s Thesis. During the time a phenomenon called crowdsourcing was considered something very much new, that innovative companies were utilizing to leverage their business. Nowadays, crowdsourcing has permeated the business landscape, specifically in the form of various platforms that aim to tap the power of the crowds. The communities that are hosted on these platforms must be managed to gain the desired effect. The contribution of this thesis at the current time is therefore specifically how to successfully manage the community, in order to implement crowdsourcing into the everyday operations of the business. Read this series further to find out all about crowdsourcing, and the success factors of crowdsourcing.

INTRODUCTION

An empty conference room’s light are lit. People start walking in, take their seats and organize their pads and laptops. Some are even using pen and paper. They prepare for a discussion. What is about to begin is an age old method of finding new innovative ideas and answers to problems: brainstorming.

A modern day brainstorming is not limited to a conference room, or seats available in the room. In the new era, the only limit is access to Internet. Anyone with a laptop or smartphone can contribute to this transaction of information. The modern problem solving in Internet can be done in spite of location and time zone. Global participation enabled by the worldwide network makes access to new ideas easier and faster than ever.

Background

The Internet is transforming the way business is done nowadays. The digitalization of the modern enterprise creates new emerging business models that simply were not possible for a couple of decades ago. According to Professor Michael Rappa (2011), this is the result of widespread diffusion of Internet. Especially, over the past decade, the amount of data such as customer, employee information and information about the products has increased significantly. Whole industries from photography and publishing to banking and healthcare have experienced this change. (Rappa, 2011)

In addition, the new environment gives birth to new kinds of challenges. Not only variety of products are digitalized, but even ideas can arise from this digital environment and find their way to organization via Internet. Not so long ago still, practically all of the new ideas came from within the organization. Thus, the ideas that organization had access were widely internal. The new method is to utilize an external entity, people outside an organization.The Internet allows access to the external ideas easier and with transaction cost to near zero, which has only been possible in recent years. The easy access to these ideas brings some issues though, that must be evaluated. Organization must set policies of using the external entity, and determine what it can reveal to outsiders, when accessing their ideas.

The external entity in this thesis has a widely accepted name: it’s called the crowd. More importantly, the method of leveraging the crowd is called crowdsourcing.

This thesis discusses the utilization of crowdsourcing in generating ideas, innovating new solutions and solving problems. Case example and literature analysis light the process of how organizations have facilitated the use of crowdsourcing. The process includes among others selecting the platform, defining the search problem and realizing the importance of managing communities. A lot of emphasis is put on the motivational issues of the crowd. The questions tackled here are what makes the crowd participate and in what kind of problem solving the crowd is most suitable to answer.

Finally, this thesis constructs a framework for successful implementation of crowdsourcing initiatives. The framework is the main contribution of this thesis: it introduces a method of how to take control of the external talent pool that is the crowd — instead of losing control to it. The framework consists of series of steps and introduces elements that are key to successful crowdsourcing. Hence, the name crowd-business in the topic of this thesis.

This thesis is not for the old-fashioned closed-businesses. Crowdsourcing requires open-minded approach to be successful. It requires people who can see the value in accessing the crowd. Therefore, this thesis is for a business that wants to be called a crowd-business.

Sources:

Rappa, M., 2011. Managing the Digital Enterprise. [Online] Available at: http://digitalenterprise.org/.

This post is part of Value Creation in Crowd-Business Master’s Thesis, written by Finnish engineer and Web entrepreneur Juhana Laasonen. Yao Han (姚瀚) has been his identity in both digital and real life since 2011. You may read the entire thesis by downloading it from LutPub.

To contact author, use contact form at jlyaohan.com, or various social media channels: Twitter @jlyaohan, Google+, YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest.