How Companies Use Crowdsourcing: Page 2

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You don’t have to go into the Web for ideas. If you’re paranoid about strangers, you can tap into the expertise of relative strangers – like your employee population. Companies like Imaginatik can help you leverage the intelligence of all your employees regardless of their location or job function. This approach essentially distributes and manages the digital suggestion box.

What’s the point? We’re not that smart and could use some help from time to time to solve tough problems.

There’s a continuum of familiarity that defines comfort for many companies. “Relative strangers” who work for the company – but have never met – form one crowd, while “perfect strangers” who live and work on the Web, form another crowd.

Some companies experiment with internal crowd- sourcing. While this can be effective, it’s a little contradictory or at least sub-optimal, since crowdsourcing, by definition, is the most effective with large crowds. Nevertheless, internal crowdsourcing is a good place to start.

Some years back there was a lot of discussion about the “free-agent nation,” where individual contributors would rent themselves for specific tasks. They charged an hourly rate (in most cases) to solve discrete, well-bounded problems posted by individuals or corporations.

Crowdsourcing is an extension of this process but involves proactive problem posting by the companies looking (anywhere) for help. Crowdsourcing brings problems directly to the crowd, to 21st century “free agents.”

Companies that already rely heavily upon part-time – so called “1099” – employees should love the crowdsourcing model because it’s conceptually very similar to the idea of employing professionals-by-the-task.

It’s also similar to on-demand problem solving, since demand defines opportunities (and compensation). Crowdsourcing is project-driven outsourcing that in these tough economic times makes a lot of sense – even if you think you know it all. Give it a try.

ALSO SEE: Stop the Drivel: The 'Really Perfect' Tech Exec

AND: Tech Execs: Can We Stop the Stupidity?

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Tags: services, management, IT, business intelligence, technology

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