Crowdsourcing may seem like a trend for startups, keen to tap into great ideas or talent from around the world.
These entrepreneurs will reach out via crowdsourcing apps, run idea-generating competitions, or host innovation events where like-minded people gather and bounce concepts until they unearth a gem.
However, as established companies fight off disruption, they are increasingly adopting crowdsourcing techniques – seeking ideas to foster and grow from within their teams.
“Innovation offers companies a way to deliver growth, discover potential disruptions, increase efficiencies and deliver cost savings,” says KPMG Head of Innovate, James Mabbott.
“But if companies are to truly foster an innovation culture, they must enable every employee in the organisation to contribute to the process.”
Developing an innovative culture is high on the agenda for many C-level executives in Australia. However they can find it challenging to pinpoint what innovation means to their business.
“It’s important that they understand the role of innovation and how it can enhance the customer experience and increase customer loyalty,” KPMG’s Crowdsourcing Specialist, Dani Webster says.
They key is defining what innovation could do to their business model, how it could be instilled and what a successful outcome will look like.
There is a direct link between successful crowdsourcing campaigns and building an innovation culture, says Mabbott.
“When a crowdsourcing campaign is done right, with challenge, incentive, a communications plan, and the implementation of the winning idea, the impact on a company’s culture is positive.”
A crowdsourcing campaign can help build a collaborative team, motivated by innovation and instilled with the confidence to manage and lead creative change. It can also make the most of diversity – in terms of everyone’s different experience, perspectives and knowledge.
“Crowdsourcing fosters inclusion, because it is transparent and ideas are shared with all participants. This enables discussion, and constructive comments to build, shape and develop ideas.”
Opening a company up to innovation can be done in an ordered way that enables all ideas to be gathered and assessed in the one place. An online crowdsourcing platform is a good way to achieve this, making it easy to access, repeatable and scalable.
KPMG’s Innovation Factory has created an innovation management software and an ideas-challenge approach that helps organisations succeed in online ideas generation.
“The platform focuses the energy of the group onto the right issues. It ensures the right people get involved in ideas they really can add to. It’s a creative place where you can explore ideas for the future.”
The results could range from the development of new or enhanced products and services, increased productivity or efficiencies, and cost savings for a business.
Once crowdsourcing is implemented and innovative ideas are harnessed, they require strategy and execution with a full end-to-end process to deliver results. "This must be driven by leadership and filtered throughout the entire organisation," explains Mabbott.
“It’s easy for crowdsourcing to go wrong and negatively impact culture, for example if an organisation asks its employees for ideas and then does nothing with their input, the impact will be negative. It’s not enough just asking for ideas, an organisation must then act on them, thereby showing their employees they take their input seriously.”