A software industry writer has recently published an insightful series of articles on how to ensure crowdsourcing is a best practice and not a worst practice. While the material is focused on the software industry and features insight from executives at TopCoder there is plenty of wisdom for professionals in all industries. The article cautions that crowdsourcing, like outsourcing of years past, is so trendy that it has become a solution for everything. In reality, businesses are better off analyzing projects on a case by case basis to determine which are suited to crowdsourcing and which are not. Then the best model must be determined. For example, Top Coder has calculated optimal participation metrics for each type of contest they host, indicating the optimal number of submissions that will provide the best experience for both customer and member.
An HBR article discusses this dilemma of pursuing quantity or quality from a crowdsourced project. The authors have determined that “if quantity is good for creating ideas, quality is good for setting a vision.”
The larger the number of collaborations, the higher the number of opportunities that you can tap into and the higher the likelihood that a great idea may knock your door. High-quality collaboration is useful when it comes to make sense of all these opportunities. Highly skillful collaborators can help you to better interpret this wealth of insights, to recognize the value of ideas that is not often visible at first, especially when it comes to radical change, and to identify a novel strategic direction.
Others may fail to see value in this discussion, believing that quality and quantity are not exclusive. A writer for The Daily Crowdsource published a short list of commonly held crowdsourcing myths. At the top of his myth list: “Quality is the casualty when it comes to crowdsourcing.