Crowdsourcing: Definition, platforms

Crowdsourcing: Definition, platforms

the crowdsourcing, literally “crowd supply”, consists in mobilizing a multitude of voluntary individuals for the accomplishment of a mission. The process, which actually turns out to be a form of outsourcing, is akin to a competition, the result of which directly benefits the company. The company issues a call for projects open to the public, whether or not it is made up of professionals; each participant submits a production; the company selects the winner itself or has it elected by the public; the winner is rewarded or remunerated, in return for which the company operates its production under pre-contracted conditions.

> Download: Strategic Planning Kit for Businesses”/>The pattern is old: ever since the conquest of the West in the United States, law enforcement rewarded bounty hunters for catching criminals. It’s already crowdsourcing: the state outsources the mission, open to the crowd, and only the winner is paid. With the development of the Internet and digital technologies, the model is becoming more democratic: crowdsourcing platforms facilitate the massive distribution of the company’s proposal, and considerably increase the potential number of participants.

Crowdsourcing is interesting in business strategy because this model is interesting from a legal and economic point of view. The company only creates a contractual link with its service provider after its selection on the basis of a concrete result. The risk is thus reduced because the company only commits and pays if the result satisfies it. This form of outsourcing also has the advantage of multiplying opportunities: the crowdsourcing platform makes it possible to use the intelligence, creativity and know-how of the greatest number of individuals to create value. On these aspects, risk and opportunity, crowdsourcing differs fromoutsourcing traditional.

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What is crowdsourcing used for?

Crowdsourcing is considered by the company in 2 distinct contexts:

  • The company decides to outsource a specific need, and favors crowdsourcing to reduce costs and multiply proposals. Example: the event agency uses a crowdsourcing platform to create the poster for its event; it obtains numerous proposals and chooses the best, for which it remunerates the author. The choice is wider since participants from all over the world can contribute, and the price is lower than the prices of a graphic design agency; in the absence of a contractual link, on the other hand, the company has no power of management over the author of the creation. Crowdsourcing in this context is particularly used in the field of marketing, for creative tasks: proposing the name of a brand, designing a logo, suggesting ideas for a new product, writing a slogan or even designing a flyer.
  • The company uses crowdsourcing as part of a marketing campaign. She communicates about the operation to her audience, to increase their commitment and interact in a fun way. Example: Coca-Cola organized a video contest in 2009 via a crowdsourcing platform, inviting participants to produce its next television advertisement; the brand has received thousands of videos from creatives, professionals and non-professionals, all over the world. The best ad aired in Singapore and made it into the top 10 favorite ads in the country. In this context, crowdsourcing makes it possible to include the consumer, and the general public is receptive to this form of collaboration: a study revealed in 2018 that sales increase by 20% on products designed from an idea of ​​a consumer.

It should be noted that this type of crowdsourcing constitutes crowdsourcing of inventive activities. Other forms exist: the crowdsourcing of content, for example, does not aim to solve a problem but to supply content. Wikipedia and Google are examples of content crowdsourcing, since all of the pages are written by Internet users. But the contributors are not remunerated by the publisher of the sites.

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5 crowdsourcing platforms

The term is a neologism, coined in 2006 by editors Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson in their article titled “The Rise of Crowdsourcing”. It was indeed at this time that the practice spread, as a result of the development of platforms dedicated to crowdsourcing. The number of platforms has increased in proportion to the success of the practice, and each has its own specificities.


eyeka - crowdsourcing

The eYeka crowdsourcing platform is developed by the Belgian company InSites Consulting to expand its marketing services offer. The platform connects brands with creatives: graphic designers, video directors, illustrators and packaging designers. Operation is simple:

  1. The company contacts InSites Consulting to develop and publish its project brief.
  2. Creators participate on a voluntary basis: the company receives 30 to 100 creations in a few days, from participants from 20 to 40 different countries.
  3. After approximately 6 weeks of competition, the company chooses the winner(s) and pays them.

eYeka boasts a network of over 400,000 creatives from over 160 countries. Large companies, such as Ferrero Rocher or Philips, use this crowdsourcing platform. Recently, the Pampers brand awarded prizes for a total amount of €5,000 to the 3 winners of a graphic design and creative writing contest launched on eYeka.


crowdsourcing - innocent

The Innocentive crowdsourcing platform allows the company to launch open challenges to a community of experts, to solve a problem. Participants are called “solvers”: they use their innovation skills to win challenges. Example: MasterCard launched a challenge to the solver community to develop a range of financial services for low-income individuals. The project was completed in 12 months, involving nearly 500 participants and providing the company with 126 solution proposals. Innocent in numbers:

  • Over 500,000 problem-solving experts.
  • 80% of projects completed in 2 to 6 months.
  • Already $60 million in rewards awarded through the platform.
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NASA, AstraZeneca and Thomson Reuters use this crowdsourcing platform for their innovative projects.


crowdsourcing - crowdspring

Crowdspring is a creative services outsourcing platform, which connects the company with experts around the world. Creation of logo and brand identity, product and packaging design or even website and application design: the company chooses to submit the brief of its project in around thirty categories to choose from. The advantages of Crowdspring:

  • If no proposal satisfies the company, the crowdsourcing platform fully reimburses its stake.
  • The platform makes it possible to contractualize the conditions of exploitation of the creation, so as to secure the intellectual property rights of the company.
  • Crowdspring provides access to a network of over 60,000 freelancers and agencies around the world.

Large groups such as Starbucks, AliExpress or Amazon use this crowdsourcing platform. In terms of pricing, Crowdspring offers several packs depending on the scope of services added. Example: for the creation of a slogan, the company bets from $299 to $899.

Cad Crowd

crowdsourcing - cad crowd

Cad Crowd offers in its service offer a crowdsourcing platform for the design of drawings and models in the field of industry, and for interior architecture projects. The operation is simple: the company publishes its brief, receives the ideas and selects the winner of the competition. The selected designer is remunerated from $300 to $50,000 depending on the scope of the mission.


crowdsourcing - 99designs

In 2020, the French company Vista buys 99designs. The crowdsourcing platform, created in 2008, makes it possible to create a design competition for the creation of logos, slogans, application icons, truck skins or even book illustrations. Count from €269 for the creation of a logo, €549 for the design of a web page or €69 for the brand page on a social network. The company remunerates the winner of the competition, who transmits the creation to it in all required operating formats.

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