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Crowdsourcing: A Billion Dollar Juggernaut

Human Resources Business Concept


More and more, these days, we’re learning the true power of “the crowd.” Take Kickstarter, for instance, where more than 10 million people have raised in excess of $2.1 billion dollars while funding everything from drones to gourmet marshmallows. And, believe it or not, some are even projecting that crowdfunding will raise more money than venture capital in 2016.


But the impact of the crowd doesn’t begin and end with funding. In fact, in his 2014 Wired article, author Narinder Singh discusses the rapid impact crowdsourcing has had on a number of different industries:


“What innovation in cloud, social and mobile technologies has done is allow the wisdom of crowds to apply to more problems with faster results than ever before – iTunes makes nearly every app developer instantly global, Uber crowdsources your rides, Airbnb expands potential places to stay. In turn, crowdsourcing, has become a powerful partner to innovation — allowing companies like Lego to co-create with their customers.”


It’s particularly interesting, in this analysis, to note that crowdsourcing isn’t necessarily displacing incumbent businesses. On the contrary, many of the world’s largest enterprises have actually embraced crowdsourcing as an invaluable means of gathering deep insights and fresh eyes. Consider Doritos, which has been crowdsourcing creative for Super Bowl commercials since 2006 (and is seeing tremendous value from doing so). Or, Elon Musk, who has set an open source project of developing his fabled “Hyperloop,” which—by many accounts—is getting closer to becoming a reality.


The great thing about the crowdsourcing movement is that it replaces centralized power with individual insights, thus enabling a more democratic means of making decisions. Where many were once subjected to the whims of those in authority, we’re now seeing people pool together their voices, resources, and intellect to do some really incredible things.


For facility managers, crowdsourcing building preferences (and collecting big data on maintenance) already offers similar rewards. Rather than guessing on items like temperature, FMs can simply check to see how tenants are responding to a building’s climate on any given day. And, rather than trying to be everywhere at once—an all-too-common paradox in the field—FMs can supplement their own eyes by allowing anyone with a smartphone to report an issue (with precise location information embedded in the request).


Already, CrowdComfort’s customers are using options like this to save an average of over $50,000 per year (with an ROI at three months). What’s more, those same clients are seeing management’s response times improve sevenfold for health and safety issues.


In the end, just about everything crowdsourcing touches seems to improve. How has your organization used crowdsourcing the develop (or refine) ideas?

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