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Open Innovation Toolbox

Crowdsourcing - Lots of new ideas through collaboration

Method in brief

Crowdsourcing is an interactive, community-based innovation strategy that uses the collective intelligence of people, normally via a web-based platform. Over the course of approx. 3 months, interested parties are invited to provide their ideas of a solution to a clear and simple-formulated problem via an online ideas platform.

Application and use

Grafik Crowdsourcingkonzepte
Diverse crowdsourcing concepts adapted according to Gassmann (2013, p. 6)

Crowdsourcing services create the foundation for new paths to exchange, collaborate, generate knowledge and solve problems, as well as to add value, and distribute tasks between different acting parties. In doing so, the crowd contributes to a concept, project or another matter with ideas, time, expert knowledge or means. Successful crowdsourcing systems are dependent on the continuous participation of users and they exist in different forms and for different areas of application, whereby the relevant remunerations and conditions are also different.

In the idea and concept phase crowdsourcing can, for example, solve problems more quickly, effectively and affordably for enterprises or contribute to the optimisation of a new product. Access to new ideas and solutions, the option of co-creation and the extension of your own innovation potential present more added value for enterprises. Gassmann (2013, S. 6) organises the numerous crowdsourcing initiatives into five different categories, whereby the following looks closer at online-based competition on idea platforms as a method.

A set of rules for fair togetherness between the operators of a platform and the crowd should support the confident collaboration. Principles that should be observed when doing this are, for example:

  • Determine clear objectives with consideration of the framework conditions
  • Ensure the integrity of a crowdsourcing offer
  • Generate transparency for necessary trust
  • Attractive, motivating and intuitively usable platform
  • Break down the barriers for participation and the technical hurdles
  • Provide confidence building, transparent and understandable participation conditions
  • Truthful, open, respectful and sincere dealing (code of conduct)
  • Manage, look after and appreciate the community (active dialogue, further development of ideas)
  • Use of different channels to obtain qualified participants
  • Motivate participants, create incentives and pay fairly
  • Determine time-frames for the campaign
  • Check objective achievement
  • Impartial, transparent and rule-consistent jury process
  • Observe data protection and private sphere
  • Guarantee controlled development, transfer and reworking
  • Crowdsourcing Verband e.V. (2017): Basic Principles for Paid Crowdsourcing / Crowdworking. Guidelines for a profitable and fair collaboration between crowdsourcing enterprises and crowdworkers. Online at: http://www.crowdsourcing-code.de/ (December 2018).
  • Gassmann, Oliver (2013): Crowdsourcing - Innovationsmanagement mit Schwarmintelligenz. Interaktiv Ideen finden, kollektives Wissen effektiv nutzen. Mit Fallbeispielen und Checklisten. 2nd edition, Carl Hanser Verlag München.
  • Nielsen Jakob (2006): Jakob Nielsen: Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute. In: Nielsen Norman Group. 9 October 2006.Online, cited at:  https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ein-Prozent-Regel_(Internet)#cite_note-nielsen2006-5
  • Sandra Schaffert and Diana Wieden-Bischof (2009): Erfolgreicher Aufbau von Communitys. Konzepte, Szenarien und Handlungsempfehlungen. Band 1 of series “Social Media”, published by Georg Güntner and Sebastian Schaffert. Online at: https://www.salzburgresearch.at/2009/studie-erfolgreicher-aufbau-von-online-communitys/

Progress report

Logo beck Fastener Group

Beck KG was founded in 1904 in Mauerkirchen (Upper Austria) and employs 500 members of staff worldwide. The enterprise is specialised in the production of magazine-loaded nails, SCRAIL® nail screw fasteners, brackets, pins & pneumatic nail devices, as well as special fastening systems, predominantly manufactured for industry and house construction.

In the interview, Mr. Stefan Siemers Dipl.-Ing, Head of Research and Development, reported about his experiences with the first-time implementation of an enterprise-external idea competition on the subject: “Joining technology of the future”.

Go to the interview

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