Crowdsourcing - How To Use The Knowledge Of The Crowd

Crowdsourcing is a strategy of engaging a crowd (customers, brand fans and experts) in the joint tasks of the company.

Definition: Crowdsourcing is a strategy of engaging a crowd (customers, brand fans and experts) in the joint tasks of the company. The term comes from the words crowd and sourcing source.

This term was introduced to the general public by Jeff How in the article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing" published in Wired magazine. Corporations have practically always taken knowledge and ideas from ordinary people, but never on the scale that they do today. All because of the Internet.

Knowledge of the crowd

Recently, companies are more and more willing to use the knowledge and ideas of not only their clients but also all those interested in a given industry, to achieve various goals. However, crowdsourcing is not a new phenomenon in the economy. As early as in the 17th century, companies engaged the "crowd" in common tasks.

One of the most frequently cited examples in this regard is how to solve the problem of food storage. Attacking Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte, wanting his soldiers to guarantee fresh food, announced a competition that was to come up with an idea for an innovative way of storing it, so that it would not break down during long fights at the front.

And so it can be said that thanks to the war and the faith of this famous commander in the wisdom of the crowd, the canning was born. However, it seems that it was quite a unique situation. In the old days, companies rarely appealed to the ideas of the people. Admittedly, the possibilities offered by the Internet were not there.

Social networks play a special role in the context of crowdsourcing, thanks to which there has been a unique and unprecedented rapprochement between brands and customers. Today, the dialogue with the customer community lasts virtually uninterruptedly around the clock.

Just as customers can ask a brand any question at any time of the day, corporations can get it fast thanks to which there was a unique and unprecedented rapprochement between brands and customers. Today, the dialogue with the customer community lasts virtually uninterruptedly around the clock.

Just as customers can ask a brand any question at any time of the day, corporations can get it fast thanks to which there was a unique and unprecedented rapprochement between brands and customers. Today, the dialogue with the customer community lasts virtually uninterruptedly around the clock.

Just as customers can ask a brand any question at any time of the day, corporations can get it fast feedback on practically every matter. Thanks to new technologies, companies can not only reach a huge crowd of people with a question/competition but also get a wide response to their appeal. The larger group of people a company manages to engage in a joint project, the greater the chance that it will be able to acquire more interesting ideas.

Of course, in crowdsourcing, quantity does not always translate into quality, sometimes a small group of people strongly interested in the brand's actions are able to generate better ideas than a large crowd of random individuals who have little knowledge about the company. However, you never really know from which side some brilliant and simple solution, such as the aforementioned canning, will appear.

Corporations use crowdsourcing regularly or once. The Wikipedia online encyclopedia is such a permanent project based on the work and knowledge of people.

Many companies independently refer to the wisdom of the crowd, but more and more companies in this area use specialized crowdsourcing companies that provide comprehensive support for this type of campaign.

Application areas

Sean Moffitt points out that currently crowdsourcing should be looked at a bit wider than just through the prism of using the knowledge of crowds by brands. According to him, crowdsourcing covers 14 key areas, the most important of which are:

  1. Citizen Engagement (engaging residents in joint city management).

  2. CrowdIntelligence - using the collective intelligence of the community.

  3. Mass Collaboration - and independent collaboration of a large number of users on one project.

  4. Open Innovation - using resources from outside the company.

  5. Online Communities - using the knowledge of online communities characterized by a high rate of interaction.

  6. Crowd Tasks and Creativity - tasks that use the creativity of the community.

  7. Crowd Causes - common activities for good causes.

  8. Social Busines - listening to the voice of social media.

  9. Customer Co-creation - cooperation with consumers.

  10. Sharing economy - sharing resources.

  11. Non - Equity-Based Crowdfunding - financial support for projects.

  12. Equity-Based Crowdfunding - members supporting a project become its shareholders.

  13. Peer-to-Peer Lending / Commerce - social loans.

  14. CrowdCurrencies - community-initiated currencies.

It seems that the sharing economy is the fastest growing area today. More and more companies are starting to operate in line with the sharing economy. Companies have recognized that they can rely on resources they do not own. For example, one of the largest transport companies Uber does not actually own a single taxi.

Their owners are the users of this platform. The same is true of Airbnb, which deals with the rental of flats and apartments, although it does not actually own any hotel. Apologist for this kind of economy Jeremy Rifkin in his book The Zero Marginal Cost Society pointed out that this way of doing business allows you to significantly optimize costs.

It seems that the sharing economy will change the way we live in the near future. Capitalism will become an aggregator of network services and solutions.

Crowdfunding is just as interesting and wildly popular as the sharing economy. Thanks to crowdfunding, many, not only unique gadgets have been created. There are already several platforms of this type in Poland, the equivalents of a global giant in this field.

Here, as nowhere else, the idea matters. If you effectively interest your users' project, you have a chance that they will support its development. Crowdfunding is an alternative solution to financing a new idea with bank loans.

Crowdsourcing is a tool designed not only for companies. For several years, it has also been successfully used by state organizations, public institutions, cultural centres and sports clubs. Although, of course, economic entities are in the lead in this area.

With the help of a crowd (or narrow groups of specialists), companies try to solve not only problems closely related to product development but also sales and marketing. A very popular endeavour is using crowd ideas for marketing communication. Companies often look for advertising ideas among their fans.

Crowdsourcing is most widely used by companies from the FMCG sector, but there are also many examples of this type of activity in entities in the field of new technologies. It is also very popular in the automotive industry. Toyota is a pioneer in this respect, which in 1936 organized a logo competition. Since then, he regularly learns from his followers around the world.

Crowdsourcing has also made a permanent home in Poland. Orlen is one of our domestic concerns that regularly refers to the wisdom of the crowd.

The aim of one of the last competitions organized by Orlen in April 2016 was to select innovative ideas and technological projects to improve the efficiency of production processes at the refinery.

The competition was open to groups and teams of specialists, entities and research institutions from all over the world, who could submit their ideas using the internet platform created for this purpose.

Customer ideas are also regularly collected by Bank Zachodni WBK on a special website.

Benefits in crowdsourcing

Involving the crowd to solve the company's problems is not only a form of image creation. Although, of course, brands that appeal to the ideas of ordinary people gain in the eyes of consumers. The most important benefits of using crowdsourcing in current operations:

  • increase in sales, it can be expected that the involvement of customers in joint action will result in higher revenues. According to one of the rules of exerting influence, customers who took an active part in the development of a new product will consistently use it in the future.

  • the possibility of probing your own ideas (very often crowdsourcing companies present several ideas for evaluation and expect the answers from the "crowd" that they like best),

  • improving the company's image,

  • quick feedback from industry experts,

  • innovations (companies get ready ideas in this area),

  • lower cost of problem-solving,

  • the opportunity to take advantage of the wisdom of people outside the organization,

  • insight into the needs and expectations of customers.


It is also worth remembering that by referring to the opinion of the crowd, you can minimize the risk when introducing a new product to the market. If it has been developed with the participation of the customer community, hopefully, it will be received with enthusiasm rather than boycott.

The voice of the crowd should also be listened to by companies that intend to eliminate from the market products that customers have already got used to for good. Sometimes the mere change of the product without consultation may lead to customer protests (see the announcement of changing the recipe of the flagship Coca-Cola drink).

The effectiveness of crowdsourcing activities depends mainly on the correct selection of the "crowd" profile and setting the problem. It must be clear to all to whom we wish to refer. Contestants need to know exactly what the brand expects of them.


Crowdsourcing is a strategy that is becoming more and more popular. Not only global concerns use it successfully. A number of smaller companies admit that their current position on the market is due to the use of their clients' mental potential when setting development directions.

It is hard to suppose that crowdsourcing will replace traditional management models in the near future. Probably soon for most entities it will become complementary to the methods of conducting business activity used so far - that is, those that did not take into account the share of the external factor.


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Crowdsourcing - How To Use The Knowledge Of The Crowd
Crowdsourcing is a strategy of engaging a crowd (customers, brand fans and experts) in the joint tasks of the company.
Urdu Soft Books: Trending List, Articles and Latest News
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