Dr. Marla Gottschalk is a Workplace Psychologist who focuses upon the definition of corporate culture, clarifying vision and fulfilling talent needs to encourage growth and innovation. You can find her on Twitter and Linkedin. We’ve had an ongoing dialogue with her on the challenges of the never-ending task of gathering the right resources to form and reform teams. Here is her perspective on crowd sourcing within your organization:
Harnessing the power of social media in today’s world has become more than a priority – it has become a necessity. But, how does the average business leverage cutting-edge tools to improve their day-to-day operations? Answer: You borrow the strategies of the big hitters like InnoCentive and Proctor & Gamble, and adapt them to your needs. Crowdsourcing is one example.
It’s all about listening
Crowdsourcing is all about opening the lines of communication and forming new connections. The concept may sound intimidating, but it is simply about listening respectfully and utilizing the information to move your business forward. When implemented correctly, it can offer you information that can help finesse your business plan. Not only can it plug you in to developing customer needs, it can also gather needed solutions within your organization as well.
Your customers and crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing can augment your overall customer communication strategy. The process can not only offer a needed layer of protection when tracking a developing product problem , it can also collect customer ideas for future improvements, as well. Starbucks, Cadbury and Toyota are a few of the other companies gathering customer input, with links on their websites to gather ideas and feedback – a strategy that any business can implement.
Various social media platforms provide crowdsourcing opportunities. Of course, you can pose questions on your company Facebook Page, post a video on Youtube, or include a poll on your company blog concerning options for product updates. You can also utilize your Google+ Brand Page to hold a hang out with your customers and explore ideas relevant to your business plan. What ever the topic you choose to explore, be sure to keep the “call to action” simple – and try not to overwhelm your customers in the process.
There are some truly fantastic examples of organizations connecting with their customers through crowdsourcing. Sweetgreen’s novel “New Years Resolution” campaign was not product oriented – but focused on developing a link with customers. By collecting resolutions through post-it notes at their physical store and though Twitter, customer relationships were started and strengthened.
Crowdsourcing within your organization
Crowdsourcing is not only about establishing a rapport with your customers, you can also open a new communication channel with your employees. It is possible to crowdsource just about anything within your organization, including ideas to solve inefficiencies within a department or a function. Have budget constraints? Want ideas on how to save money wisely? Pitch the question to your employees, as they are the experts concerning the day-to-day operations of your organization.
Does your organization routinely utilize teams to develop new ideas and solve problems? Social engagement platforms such as Jostle, offer opportunities to implement crowdsourcing within your day-to-day operations, by facilitating new connections and communicating current topics, issues and opportunities – essential elements for internal crowdsourcing.
Jostle, for example, provides opportunities to document team formation in response to ever-changing business needs. As explained by Brad Palmer developer of Jostle, “The idea is to connect people by encouraging the discovery of those within the organization. This facilitates cultural knowledge that can positively enhance effectiveness and extended teamwork.” As such, this information allows employees even somewhat removed from the work at hand, to be a potential contributor or problem solver.
Before you shrug off the notion that crowdsourcing is inappropriate for your business, give the idea just one more thought. Implementing the process could offer you the needed edge to catapult your organization forward.