Crowdsourcing is a way to access a global crowd of talented people and to channel their talent and creative effort towards some useful endeavour. Entrepreneurs who may have limited resources, especially during the start-up phase of the business, will be attracted to crowdsourcing as a means to access funding, knowledge, subject matter experts, and resources on a global scale. When starting up a company, entrepreneurs face significant challenges, such as limited funding, lack of resources, and a broad range of difficult technical issues. Access to local funding can be difficult and restrictive. Finding resources on a limited budget can be challenging.
Crowdsourcing is a compelling way to address these issues and create connections with talented people and resources from all over the world. These connections present a new opportunity to entrepreneurs to grow their community by selectively adding talent from a target crowd, finding required resources, and developing solutions to technical issues. However, an additional problem for entrepreneurs is to know the right form of motivation to motivate the target crowd, because applying the wrong form of motivation can turn a crowdsourcing initiative into an expensive, time-consuming distraction that yields poor results.
Crowdsourcing has become a modern-day form of outsourcing; it brings an endeavour to a globally distributed group of unrelated people with varying degrees of motivational needs, skills, and talent.
Crowdsourced endeavours have included both simple and complex tasks relating to problem solving, design, and product development. Crowdsourcing provides an entrepreneur with access to resources on a global scale through the Internet. These resources may be much more cost effective for the entrepreneur as well as valuable when looking to find and engage the best people to solve problems and add value.
However, asking the crowd for help is only part of the challenge; an entrepreneur must also encourage members of that crowd to step forward. Finding and applying the right type of motivation is essential for success in crowdsourcing.
Three crowd types based on similarities in motivational approaches and contexts are:
Task–based public crowds
Public task-based crowds perform a specific task or a set of tasks. There are few or no relationships between the crowd participants, who each contribute using their individual abilities. Motivational drivers include: immediate financial payment (of varying amounts), skills improvement, enjoyment and fun (of varying type), and community-related motivations. It is important to note that financial payment might not be the best way to motivate a crowd because other forms of motivation can be more important.
Participants in a corporate, employee-based crowd are employed by the host company. Motivational drivers for this type of crowds include immediate payment of rewards, such as peer recognition, career advancement, and professional development.
Information–exchange public crowds
This type of crowd includes participants seeking technical information as well as participants providing technical information, and these roles are interchangeable. Some tasks may also require creativity in addition to technical information. Motivational drivers include access to technical experts to solve problems, learning, fun, and being part of a community.
Ways entrepreneurs can engage customers in crowdsourcing; which businesses have applied successfully are:
Firstly, for idea generation, entrepreneurs can use crowdsourcing to engage customers to shape the future of their businesses. For example, if a business is seeking creative ideas about the future form and function of a business segment. Crowdsourcing is a way of seizing opportunity to find “out of the box ideas” from the crowd. A crowdsourcing community of registered members creates a pool of ideas for consideration.
Secondly, entrepreneurs can make use of crowdsourcing to engage customers to participate in the design of a product. Creative designs from members of crowdsourcing community, can then be incorporated into the business.
Thirdly, crowdsourcing can be applied to citizen-based science projects. Entrepreneurs can engage members of the public to participate in scientific research in situations where funding and staff are limited.
From: How Can Entrepreneurs Motivate Crowdsourcing Participants?
Technology Innovation Management Review http://www.timreview.ca
Authors: Derek Smith, Mohammad Mehdi Gharaei Manesh, Asrar Alshaikh
Categories: Entrepreneurship and Small Business