Creative Crowdsourcing : You see it every day on your online networks…

A business contact asks for recommendations for an open position. An old college buddy asks for restaurant suggestions in a popular city. A parent at your child’s school asks for summer camp reviews.

There’s a name for this type of request: crowdsourcing. And it’s not limited to people in your social networks. This method of seeking resources from the masses is part of a larger trend — one that enterprises are adopting to drive innovation and boost business.

Enterprises are using crowdsourcing to expand their talent pools and obtain ideas, content or services not just from current employees and suppliers, but online communities and the public as well. And because crowdsourcing provides a wider supply of resources, businesses can fine-tune the ways they use Big Data, analytics, and data enhancement.

Here’s a looks into the role of crowdsourcing within the enterprise.

What kinds of tasks are enterprises seeking from the crowd?

There are a host of jobs that businesses are assigning outside their regular workforces. These can be short tasks like translation, product testing, survey completion or website categorization, or more complex jobs, like coding or writing content, that can be obtained from online freelance markets.

Businesses can also look to the crowd for solving problems and generating ideas. The crowdsourcing can come in the form of a contest to the public at large or a specific skilled audience.

What are some specific ways crowdsourcing can benefit businesses?

Technology companies can use crowdsourcing for testing and finding glitches in apps and software. For example, note-taking app-maker Evernote uses to record users’ actions and ask them questions — rather than exhaust its own resources conducting tests and compiling results.

Brick-and-mortar retailers could use the crowd for secret shopping to gain insight about their stores and employees. Some tasks for these crowdsourced workers could be scanning shelves for pricing mistakes or product misalignment. A retailer could also use crowdsourcing and cloud applications to launch a storefront makeover or website redesign, and solicit feedback from its target audience before a full launch.

Online businesses can use crowdsourced information about search results to make them more relevant to users, and thus, increase engagement or conversion.

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