Soon after the NSW State Government announced the re-design of their state logo, the public decided that they could do a better job!
The crowdsourcing website Design Bay has now started a competition to create an alternative to the “lotus flower logo” that has been so controversial. In a very short period of time, this has already attracted over 40 designs.
After the Federal Government threw away $8 Million on creating the now defunct Grocery Choice website to monitor supermarket prices, a group of consumers set up @price_check – a Twitter-based crowdsourcing experiment. This project aims to get consumers to collect prices using their mobile phones and PCs to build an open grocery price database to help keep the supermarkets honest. In only a few weeks this has attracted well over 200 followers (more than any of the official supermarket Twitter accounts), including a number of politicians and journalists.
Even if these crowdsourcing projects don’t create the final solution to the problem they are addressing, they will definitely have an impact on the overall process and they raise the question: Are your customers revolting?
I know it’s an old joke, but the new social networking tools that are spreading like wildfire have made it relevant again.
This is a serious issue that you could face in the near future. What would you really do if a group of your customers decided they didn’t like some aspect of your business practices or business model and formed an independent group to fix it from the outside?
Do you think you would be able to engage with them and turn this into a positive experience? Or would you and your staff’s first reaction be to try to control or stop this process?
If that’s the case then there’s a good chance you could end up sitting alone in a dinghy floating adrift, just like Captain Bligh!
Networks create emergent properties and crowdsourcing is an increasingly common one enabled by these new social media networks. You need to consider it carefully.
Crowdsourcing turns casual customers into highly-engaged participants, sometimes overnight. Even worse, it might not be your customers that start this – it might be an agile new competitor!
So ask yourself, could crowdsourcing have an impact on your business or business model and when it does… what would you do?
NOTE: Rob Manson set up the @price_check twitter experiment.
Rob Manson is Managing Director of MOB. He’s built innovative and integrated business models for all types of organisations, from start-ups, through to multi-national ‘Telco & Media Group’ joint ventures and NASDAQ-listed public companies.