1. What is crowdsourcing? Crowdsourcing is all about pulling together the knowledge of a group of people to generate the most creative and practical solutions to any given challenge, whether that’s developing original products to solving seemingly impossible dilemmas. The theory of crowdsourcing in based on the philosophy that the best innovations are a result of a group of individuals bringing their diverse experiences and knowledge into a central forum and working together.2. Why use crowdsourcing? In an era of austerity, businesses need to use their existing resources – be that the implicit knowledge of individuals, a team, a department, the whole company or even the customer base – and web-based crowdsourcing platforms offer a cheap way of doing just that. 3. How does crowdsourcing work? Online crowdsourcing communities can be “open” (accessed by all) or highly customised (secure, “invite only” platforms for certain groups). The crowdsourcing platform is usually designed to solve a particular problem or enhance a certain product or service. Users can post ideas, comment or add value to others’ suggestions, and vote or demote ideas. By attracting a large group of general public participants, incentivising them to get involved and tapping into their views and ideas, businesses can access targeted groups who may have been difficult to reach previously using traditional methods. 4. Who needs crowdsourcing? All sorts of businesses are already benefiting from crowdsourcing technology, from supermarket chains researching the market, television production companies on the look out for new ideas, or those with HR departments who need to better communicate with employees. One of the major advantages of web-based crowdsourcing applications is that they are totally scalable – they can reach as big or as small group as necessary. 5. What does crowdsourcing cost? Crowdsourcing costs can vary depending on the scope of the crowdsourcing project, and the level of technical features that are required. The typical monthly cost ranges from £250 to £1,500. Jason Burrows is the co-founder of Crowdworks. To watch a fun video demonstrating the crowdsourcing process, visit www.crowdworks.net and follow us on Twitter @hubbubideas
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