What's in it for Uber

As crowdsourcing creates new employment relationships, is it a new form of work? David Alan Grier explores this question and how Uber is shaping the answer, in today's podcast.

Grier explores the fact that several years ago many crowdsourcing pioneers thought crowdsourcing was a new form of work. However, we've explored the fact that crowdsourcing as a work process isn't new, only the word is.

Grier also discusses the question, "What are the legal obligations to the kind of relationships, and more importantly, the kinds of transactions we can invent with crowdsourcing technology?"

Learn Why Your Competitors are Crowdsourcing, at Crowdopolis

Crowdopolis is set to be a truly remarkable event in crowdsourcing history. Next week, the biggest pioneers in crowdsourcing will be gathering for 3 days of discussions on the future of work. The conference takes place Oct 6-8, 2015 in San Francisco, and there's still time to register. This 4th annual event is already set to be the best Crowdopolis ever. Join us and learn why your competitors are using crowdsourcing. And if they aren't, learn to harness it yourself to get a huge, and proven, advantage over them.

Here's a snapshot of some of the people you'll be meeting on stage and in the audience:

Speakers Attendees
Facebook NASA Oracle Ford
AstraZeneca Deloitte AARP Expedia (team)
Lockheed Martin Intel Toyota Booz Allen Hamilton (team)
Appirio Lenovo (team) Rust-Oleum (team) Farmers Insurance
Portfolia Accenture (team) eBay (team) NineSigma
Sequence SAP Verizon Clorox (team)
Pillsbury Innocentive JCPenney Johnson & Johnson (team)
Indiegogo Tongal TriNet Walmart
Janssen Applause IBM HP

Over the past 5 years we've helped hundreds of Fortune 500 companies learn how to begin using crowdsourcing to solve their common business problems. And in nearly every case, these enterprises test it out, then pour millions each month into their crowdsourcing endeavors. Why? Because they find out it works! We'd love to add your name to this list.

This 4th Crowdopolis is already set to be amazing, but we still want your energy in the room. Register today before it's too late.

Innovation as a Science: Predicting the Value of Ideas

For all the collective rush to figure out what innovation is and what doing it means for your business, it really boils down to this: we want to come up with great ideas, be able to predict their value, and figure out what systems need to be in place for us to do so.

Innovation is both an art and a science, but it's the science that brings about tangible returns. It's the science that allows a leader to turn to their crowd of employees -- and partners, and customers -- and present a business challenge that needs solving, with the clear goal of soliciting the crowd's expertise and using their experiences to generate ideas with the potential to succeed. When it comes to figuring out what an individual idea could be worth, it's not enough to say it's new. It's not even enough to say it's popular. What you must be able to do is say it has value. You must also be able to say it's a worthwhile investment, and that it creates opportunities for growth and any necessary evolution alongside your market.

This is where you must ask yourself: What are the systems that need to be put in place to make my organization's innovation approach successful? What data do I need? What tools do I require to accurately predict whether or not something will work, and whether the impact is short-term or long term? The answer is very much the same across the board: the crowd. Your crowd. The people who are already invested in your business, who know it more intimately than anyone else, and who have a vested interest in its continuing success.

The best thing about turning to your crowd for solutions is the automatic diversification of perspectives you will end up with, and the surprising accuracy of crowd-derived predictable data. Ideas do not have to be disruptive to be effective, nor do they require an unheard-of foundation to be considered innovative. Often, the best ideas come from entirely unexpected corners of the business -- from the very people whom you normally wouldn't think to ask. By applying the logic of collaborative innovation to your innovation program, you will be far more likely to discover a successful idea, as well as an get accurate prediction of how much that idea will cost to implement, and how long it will take to deliver.

For enterprise companies, innovation is a very serious business. But as with any noble undertaking that involves inviting input from a large group, you must take into consideration how you deal with that input at scale -- and any company committed to innovation and customer satisfaction should be thinking about scalability. That brings me to the notion of the innovation hero.

Sometimes referred to as intrapreneurs, the innovation hero is the internal crowd's answer to a loyal customer advocate. These are the people who champion innovation initiatives and help drive engagement in innovation programs, encouraging participation and collaboration within the crowd. They not only have a lot of wonderful ideas to share, but the capacity to envision valuable ideas in practice. This is why they're so important: they not only have a knack for finding opportunities, but they also know very well how to create them.

Ultimately, the ability to catalyze innovation within your organization is critical, and doing so without dramatically increasing expenditures is a must. Crowdsourcing solutions from your employees gives you the greatest chance of coming up with the ideas and processes that will keep your company relevant and competitive -- now, and in the future.

The User's Voice Counts

Looks like there is no doubt about the fact, that integrating the crowd into research and development activities is one key for success, to deliver successful innovations to the market. But who is the crowd?

Well, during the last years working for SAP SE I experienced a lot of different flavors with regards to crowdsourcing.

First of all there are the customers – most important the end users - who are at the end, using SAP business solutions to accomplish their daily tasks. Ideally their voices are heard at a very early stage already and continuously integrated along the product lifecycle. But how do you set up a community successfully? What are the motivators and how do you keep it up and running? Today’s technology offer a boundless support respective crowdsourcing activities – whether it is the platform to build a community or the tools to evaluate the content and to motivate the members to continue their activities – there are no limits.

Secondly, there is the SAP ecosystem. Partner play a major role as multiplier and offer access to customers as their trusted advisor. It is therefore extremely important to invite them also to crowdsourcing activities to collect the customer voices. In addition, partner play a major role with regards to Co-Innovation activities – on one hand they contribute with their skills and experience, on the other hand they can receive early knowledge about new developments.

Thirdly, there are more than 70,000 smart and creative employees with very innovative ideas. This crowd is extremely valuable not only to improve internal processes to reduce complexity, which is the biggest enemy to bring innovations on the road. Furthermore they also have incredible ideas to develop new solutions, which they might not be able to propose properly during their daily workday. So, driving internal campaigns to leverage intrapreneur programs are anchored as inherent part of the company’s innovation strategy. The target is to find the best ideas and foster the development of new solutions to bring value to customers.

So let’s assume you have established an open innovation platform to collaborate with your customers, partners and employees to find new ideas – is this all you need to drive innovations successfully? Doesn’t this sound easy?

Well, yes it almost is as easy as it sounds – but looking closer at a number of companies there is a significant distinction between those, who claim that they drive open innovation and others who take it even more serious.

The latter ensure that the company’s DNA is ready for it – ready to consume the feedback and ideas in a professional way:

  • It all starts with an innovation strategy, influenced by multiple factors and supported by executive management, to allow open innovation to its full extend.
  • To ensure that innovation involves all employees, management should foster a culture that promotes values and norms that encourage innovation behavior across the organization.
  • Last but not least, new methodologies, such as Design Thinking and Business Model Development are extremely helpful to enable employees to think differently. Take into account how mature your company from a digitization perspective is and redesign your business model in iterations to make your customers – based on their ideas – happy customers!

Are you curious to hear more? I will talk about my experience in more detail at Crowdopolis XV.


As Crowdsourcing Knowledge Grows, So Does Crowdxiety

"Oh, this is just like … Freelancer … Kickstarter … Mechanical Turk." These statements have all been heard recently and it seems to be increasing in regularity.

With the pervasive use of 'crowdsourcing' in the media, it has quickly become familiar vocabulary to the general public. A recent Google news search produced 94,400 crowdsourcing stories, while far less than the 62mm+ on 'innovation' it shows the media interest in the changing economy. As a purveyor of a certain type of crowdsourcing, this has been a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it makes it easier in social situations to explain what I do, but a curse in creating crowdsourcing anxiety for organizations; hence a new portmanteau crowdxiety to really mix things up.

In truth, crowdsourcing is an old concept given new life by instant communication via the internet and is driving business model innovation in many industries. For example, temporary staffing has become freelancing and word of mouth referrals has become an online rating. Businesses are always slow to change as organizational resistance is high due to the anxiety on what this means for me, but the walls of resistance get higher the more complexity you throw at us.

There are effective tactics that help, and it is our job as advocates and leaders to reduce that anxiety by providing clear definitions on the types of crowdsourcing, when to apply them and the organizational benefit to do so. I look forward to sharing my insights and specifically define 'Crowdsourcing competitions,' a form of crowdsourcing for new ideas and solutions and the organizational indicators of crowdxiety you might be hearing and ways to address them.

We're excited to be returning to Crowdopolis 2015. Come see us this year at Crowdopolis, I look forward to an amazing event and hearing your stories, methods and tips for integrating crowdsourcing strategies; the learning never stops.

We're Offering a Different Deal Each Day in September on Crowdopolis Tickets

The world's largest crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, & open innovation conference, Crowdopolis, is next month and to continue to build the excitement, we're offering a Deal of the Day for tickets. This will be our 4th, and by far the most exciting conference we've produced. Every year our quality of speakers improves, including at least 14 crowdsourcing leaders this year from brand name companies like AstraZeneca, Facebook, Lenovo, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin and several others. We'll have 26 speakers total spread out over 2 days & now you have a chance to get in with a great deal each day in September.

Bookmark our special Deal of the Day page and be sure to view it each morning to see what unique deal we're offering. Yesterday we gave away 1 free VIP Pass. Today, we're offering a couple 2 packs of tickets for $200. Tomorrow, and every other day in September we'll be offering limited numbers of deals such as discounted tickets, VIP invitations, team rates, and even a few freebies.

If you want to know exactly how amazing Crowdopolis will be, hear from our attendees:

Click here to visit our Deal of the Day page. We hope you'll join us at Crowdopolis, Oct 6-8, 2015 in San Francisco.

The Best Practices eBay Uses with Their Crowdsourcing

When James Rubinstein worked for eBay his job was to research, develop, and manage a crowdsourcing project designed to improve the searching experience on eBay.com. He spoke at our first 2 Crowdopolis conferences and gave a riveting presentation which had a James Bond theme attached to it (very clever). Essentially, Rubinstein gave a list of best practices he's identified during his years of reasearch.

He indicates, "Crowdsourcing has been very effective for eBay in measurement of search results & quality." What has he learned that he can pass on to us? I'm glad you asked:

  1. Why you should make time to experiment, learn, and advance in order to drill down best methods
  2. How vendor relationships are a lot like a marriage
  3. What hurdles, pitfalls, & mistakes you can expect to make (or hopefully avoid)

Crowds can be used very effectively where automation falls short, such as identifying the difference between a jumper & a jumper (???), or a Solex carboreutor and an MP carboreutor (again - ???). When you watch his presentation, you'll understand. 

Grab a Free Ticket to the Crowdsourcing Event of the Year

Crowdopolis is just around the corner so it's time for some great promos. Our first one up is a FREE ticket giveaway. This being our 4th conference, we're excited about how amazing it's going to be. Over 200 of the world's top pioneers will descend into San Francisco to learn and discuss ways to improve their crowdsourcing efforts for the next 3 years.

It's our goal to help you learn how to use crowdsourcing & we've seen there's no better way to get started, than at Crowdopolis. If you're interested in attending, but want to take a shot at a FREE ticket, then click here to enter your name in our drawing for FREE tickets. We'll give out 1 FREE ticket to 2 random winners. We'll announce the winners in our next newsletter.

Here are just 12 of the crowdsourcing pioneers you'll hear speak at Crowdopolis

crowdopolis xv speakers

Presentations Include
Here are just a handful of the presentations you'll hear

  • How to work with the right crowds
  • Overcoming Organizational Resistance to Crowdsourcing: Lessons from NASA's Open Innovation Program
  • Making Markets with A Crowdsourced Approach
  • Why the User's Voice counts!

Combined, these companies have spent millions on testing, breaking, fixing, & pioneering crowdsourcing initiatives. Their lessons are priceless. And, if you enter our drawing for a FREE Crowdopolis ticket, that price could be FREE.

How to Deal with the Onslaught of Incoming Data from Crowdsourcing

The Technical Strategy Director for AT&T spends his days meeting with clients like Coca-Cola and Time Warner discussing challenges such as big data and crowdsourcing. Now, of anyone who could struggle with an onslaught of incoming data, these companies would be at the top of the list. How do you deal with all the data coming in? How does AT&T or Coca-Cola manipulate and make sense of what they collect? Can automation or human labor manage the process? At what level does human labor become too costly to be useful?

Clint Cetti, Technical Strategy Director for AT&T, shares his experiences in the following YouTube video from a previous Crowdopolis Conference. He explains 

  1. How to use the crowds as sensors in a supply chain.
  2. What do do with data that's not text, but rather video or audio.
  3. The values in keeping the big data collected from the crowds as opposed to throwing it out.

His presentation is based on what he's doing with AT&T, Coca-Cola and other large corporations, yet the principles hold true for anyone unsure of how crowdsourcing can categorize your incoming data.