What is Micro-Crowdsourcing?

One of the biggest problems with crowdsourcing, however, is that the crowd is very, very big. As a result of that, the crowd typically isn’t “vertical” enough to solve a problem; it is hard to get to the depth necessary with any part of the crowd at any one time. Yet, you’re exposing your question to a very large audience.

We recommend the use of what we call “micro-crowds.” Using techniques that only attract relevant crowds will give the greatest likelihood of providing great solutions.

In our program we put a lot of work into developing innovation platforms. Maybe not in the “old” product platform sense – real platforms are highly customer connected, so that we know what our wish list looks like. By developing those platforms and comparing those to our business value and our net customer value, we’re able to filter those innovations quickly, so they don’t sit in the building for long periods of time and consume fuel.

This is critical – with innovations, you must learn to dump them quick if they don’t fit – “bail, don’t fail;” or “fail early, “ as I discussed in the early stages of The Innovation Playbook. That’s critical to building speed and the bandwidth to focus on the right innovations.

Innovation platforms are one of the key components of what I call the “Filter” step. Most organizations have filtration systems that identify whether an idea or project is likely to provide a profitable return on investment. Most of the filtering systems are really centered on the “business case” analysis of an emerging technology. In fact, 90 percent or more of new product development systems are designed to build business cases around innovations.

For most people, that makes perfect sense. I, however, humbly disagree.

When you develop filtration systems just to define the business case around an innovation, somehow – in most cases anyway – you’ve really left out the customer as the principal driver. Several amazing technologies would have never made it to market if you had used the standard business case analysis.

I believe an organization can get on the right track by having the discipline to create a comprehensive innovation platform, and that the innovation platform is what drives their product or technology platform. Many companies feel they actually have that through their planning process. But, do they really? Usually they have comprehensive business planning instruments or new product planning instruments that are so complex and/or large that very few people even know what’s contained in the documents.

We believe it is important to develop a platform that says: “We’re in the X business, and we provide Y value to Z customers.” That is the basis of your filtration system.

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