Some of the biggest and most recognizable brands have used crowdsourcing to reduce costs, speed up projects, tap into larger intelligence and creativity pools, and engage more people in various roles inside and outside of the organization. Amongst these brands are Starbucks, Netflix, T-Mobile, and even NASA. For some, crowdsourcing is a term commonly heard but not always understood. Investopedia defines crowdsourcing in a modern way as “obtaining work, information, or opinions from a large group of people who submit their data via the Internet, social media, and smartphone apps.” Crowdsourcing can benefit companies of all sizes from the startup level to well-established organizations. It is becoming increasingly popular as innovation speed becomes more important in the business world. When planning your organization’s innovative program for the new year, crowdsourcing might be a valuable technique to incorporate. Here are 6 ways crowdsourcing can benefit your business.

1. Higher Success Rates

Creating or improving products and technology demands market research throughout the process. The open innovation capabilities of crowdsourcing guarantees valuable input and feedback from the crowd that makes this process easier. This adds value to the research because ideally it should be coming from those directly invested in your project. Utilizing digital platforms also ensures that people are able to work on and contribute to your project from anywhere at any time. The combination of open interface benefits leads to higher success rates.

2. Saves Time and Money

Using a digital platform helps bypass a lot of typical operation costs, and crowdsourcing performs tasks more quickly than a single employee. Breaking a project down into smaller pieces to be completed by a large team speeds up its completion. Paying a large team already specialized in the skills you need online rather than bringing a team together that might need training to a physical location saves a lot of money as well. Faster turnaround times also frequently mean higher profits.

3. Increase Scalability

Scaling and growth is a top priority for any business, and it can be particularly worrisome when working on large projects with inadequate resources. Crowdsourcing helps solve scaling issues by farming out portions of a project to remote workers at any time or place. This provides valuable flexibility along with additional resources that can benefit your business and bring success to a project.

4. Fill Knowledge Gaps

Most businesses do not employ all of the resources they might need at any given time unless they are operating on a massive scale. This can cause delays or increased costs when attempting to bring all of the necessary resources together for a project. Crowdsourcing allows a company to access the right people with the right skills needed that might be unavailable within the company with improved flexibility. This is particularly useful when tackling problems that require specialized knowledge or skill sets that are scarce.

5. Increase Consumer Engagement

Although not necessary, many companies seek out consumers in their crowdsourcing efforts. Involving the consumer in your process leads to very high levels of consumer engagement. Marketing efforts often hold consumer attention for a limited time. The best way to capitalize on this window is to involve consumers in the process of solving a specific problem or asking for feedback regarding the brand. The organic attention and insights gained from this are extremely useful.

6. Gain Brand Ambassadors or Employees

Crowdsourcing has the potential to create a lot of enthusiasm amongst its participants, which can lead to some participants becoming brand ambassadors. For example, through product testing the participants can represent the brand amongst their community by showing off or utilizing the product. Furthermore, open innovation is useful as a scouting process for employees. It can help highlight the most qualified contributors as well as attract the attention of skilled participants interested in your company.

Crowdsourcing can greatly benefit the success of projects at any business. However, it is helpful if your company is transparent, open to all feedback, and uses its digital resources wisely. One of the most helpful resources for successful crowdsourcing is utilizing specialized software that increases open collaboration amongst contributors. To learn about Planbox’s Open Innovation Software, click here.