Crowdsourcing really is happening here and now. Some of the world’s major companies are embracing crowdsourcing models in their business. Below are five examples of global businesses that are using crowdsourcing in areas such are marketing, R&D and innovation.
ONE: Unilever, the second largest advertiser on the planet, used crowdsourcing design website Idea Bounty to get an idea for their TV advertising campaign. They have also used MoFilm to generate short films for several brands, getting over 10,000 contributions.
TWO: Starbucks crowdsource suggestions and ideas for improvements via dedicated website My Starbucks Ideas. At the time of writing there were over 23,000 suggestions about coffee and espresso drinks alone!
THREE: The General Electric (GE) Ecoimagination project describes itself as a place “where businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and students share their best ideas on how to build the next-generation power grid – and just might get funded.” Partnering up with several venture capital funds, innovators submit ideas to the website around themes of renewable energy, grid efficiency and eco-buildings GE and their partners have pledged up to $200m to invest in the most promising start-ups, with the winner to be announced late 2010.
FOUR: Proctor & Gamble have a programme called “Connect & Develop” which aims to source product and service innovations from outside the firm. They say “in the areas in which we do business, there are millions of scientists, engineers and other companies globally. Why not collaborate with them?” Ideas are submitted via a secure portal.
FIVE: Amazon were one of the first major corporates to operate a crowdsourcing model with the launch of Mechanical Turk in 2005. It operates as a marketplace for workers tocomplete “Human Intelligence Tasks” – essentially tasks which can’t be done by computers, such as extracting information from web pages.
There will be more exploration of how crowdsourcing is changing the business landscape at the Future of Crowdsourcing Summit 2010. We believe more global organisations are going to follow the likes of Unilever and Starbucks.