5 Keys to Crowdsource Your Innovation Process
By David Dumas
I’m willing to bet that if I told you I had a way to predict the next big thing your customers want before your competition does, you’d sign a blank check for that ability. Because you know innovation is just that important. Whether it’s the next hottest video game, or a new snack item, companies stand to make – or lose – millions when trying to find their next innovative idea.
In this highly competitive age, innovators have to get creative when trying to conduct customer research. But there’s one technique that’s so obvious it’s almost too simple: crowdsourcing your audience.
Can market research really be as easy as just listening to your customers? Yes. And your community forum may be the most powerful and effective platform you have for engaging directly with them and finding out what they want to see next.
But it gets even better. What if I told you that you could continue to build on these interactions to create a new breed of community member… one who, through sustained engagement, becomes an informed brand ambassador that spreads word of your community to the outside world, while supporting your efforts on the inside?
Combined, these benefits derived from your forum create a knowledgeable, informed community that, if used properly, can help chart the future of your brand or product.
But you must know how.
Key #1 : Use Your Community Effectively
Many companies have ditched their older, more expensive focus group research techniques and are instead relying on crowdsourcing ideas directly from their community forum. That said, it isn’t as looking under the hood and seeing immediate results; just like more traditional means of research and development, crowdsourcing innovation requires a certain degree of management and finesse.
We’ve already discussed using your online community to help launch your video game. The good news is that this very same technique can be applied to almost any industry. It follows the same idea as crowdsourcing for funds, except that instead of money, you’re asking for ideas.
By getting innovative ideas directly from your brand’s fans, you can easily engage with active participants who want to see you succeed. Remember, forums foster a sense of community that connects the brand directly with the consumer. Your success is their success and vice versa. They’re on your side; they want to see you win.
Key #2 : Know What Can and Cannot Be Crowdsourced
So just what kind of intel, exactly, can be crowdsourced from an online community? The short answer is everything, and while that may seem vague at first, it’s true. Companies have had overwhelming success launching many different types of ideas, all thanks to their community, including:
- Conferencing Opportunities
- Product Enhancement Ideas
- New Content Offerings
- New Products and Services
If you can think of it, it can be done. So long as the ideas are farmed without tossing feasibility and management to the wind, there are numerous directions you can take your crowdsourcing efforts. But you must have some direction. Which brings us to key number three.
Key #3 : Know How to Go to the full article.