Crowdsourcing Innovation Ideas: How to Engage Customers and Employees

In an increasingly digitized world, reaching your customers on a personal level has become increasingly challenging to manage. Additionally, employees are quitting their jobs at a staggering rate-prompting the media to dub this time in history as "The Great Resignation." So how do companies stay competitive in such unforgiving markets?

They develop an innovation strategy. Below, we'll explore exactly what that means and how it can impact your customer and employee relations. Then, we'll provide some crowdsourcing innovation ideas to help get your strategy up and running.


What Is Innovation Crowdsourcing?

Innovation crowdsourcing or crowdsourcing innovation is a business practice that engages the crowds (in or outside of your organization) to generate ideas. The core concept is that the distributed knowledge of the crowd can be equally, if not more valuable than expert-level insight. Sound familiar? Some refer to this theory as "crowd wisdom," which we talked a bit more about in our previous blog post, "How to Leverage the Crowdsourcing Business Model for Success in Innovation."

How Can Crowdsourcing Benefit Innovation?

There's a reason that this article focuses on engaging both the customer and the employee: because in innovation, they go hand in hand. Firstly, innovation initiatives fail when they're not adequately supported by motivated employees. One of the most significant steps a company can take to pursue innovation is decentralization. Why? Because innovation relies on your ability to tap into the distribution of knowledge. This innovation approach is also referred to as "open innovation."

Secondly, consumers have become increasingly concerned about doing business with companies that align with their values. Customer-centric innovation and employee engagement have become so intertwined that they rely on one another for success. That’s why we designed the following crowdsourcing innovation ideas to feed two birds with one scone! Wait, let’s look at a reminder of the value of crowdsourcing in innovation before we get started.

Nightmare Fuel Sonic

Sonic with Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing took Sonic from looking like a Smurfed-up Grinch with human teeth and transformed him into the extremely handsome little ball of energy we all saw in the movie. If you haven’t seen it, we really recommend it. What else were you doing in 2020?


Crowdsourcing Innovation Ideas

At rready, we realize every company is different, and so will be their innovation needs. With that in mind, we created the list below to be applicable for organizations of any industry in any phase of their innovation program. Don’t sweat it if you have yet to implement an innovation program! These crowdsourcing innovation ideas will still be applicable. You can also download our KICKBOOK for inspiration, free of charge. It’s a guidebook written and peer-reviewed by over a hundred innovation leaders, and now, it’s a gift from us to you. You’re welcome. 

Introduce Gamification to the Innovation Process

Gamification is a topic of significant interest in the field of innovation. In short, it’s the application of game mechanics to non-game contexts. Check out this gamification guide and circle back here if you want the long version. There are several ways to introduce gamification to your innovation process. Since we’re focusing on crowdsourcing innovation ideas that impact consumer and employee outreach, we’ll provide a few examples for each category:

Gamification for Employees

  • Introduce a points system to recognize employee contributions to your innovation projects.
  • Hold open innovation challenges to stimulate creativity and promote friendly competition.

Gamification for Consumers

  • Interact with your customer base via social media challenges. An excellent example of this type of gamification is New Yorker’s caption contest. Readers send in captions to blank cartoons, and the best one will be published in the following issue. 
  • Poll your market to involve them in your innovation process. For instance, you could poll your consumer base about where they’d like to see your next innovation project go. Not only does this strengthen the bond between your company and its customers, but it provides an opportunity to collect valuable data for future projects. 


Join an Innovation Ecosystem

For newbies to the innovation game, this is one of our more challenging crowdsourcing innovation ideas. An innovation ecosystem refers to a network of entities working collaboratively and competitively towards innovation. It may include universities, research centers, or other companies within the industry. 

The primary purpose of an innovation ecosystem is to facilitate collaboration by utilizing the unique strengths of each entity. For example, If you partner with rready you can take advantage of an open innovation ecosystem by learning our best practices, our implementation program, or even collaborating with another company. Although partnering with an innovation management solution can help, an innovation ecosystem isn’t something you can build overnight, right?

*If you’re unfamiliar with our brand, the KICKBOX is our comprehensive innovation management solution—it comes with software as a service (SaaS,) crowdsourcing methodology coaching, employee engagement incentives, and an innovation ecosystem.

Encourage Collaboration With an Innovation Platform

Imagine how difficult it would be to conduct daily business operations without the platforms your company depends on. Productivity would likely plummet with no messaging application for communications and no task management software for project coordination. Why should your innovation efforts be treated any differently? One of the most critical crowdsourcing innovation ideas to consider is the inclusion of an innovation platform. It will help innovation leaders coordinate and track project progress, facilitate collaboration, collect feedback, and make the entire innovation process more accessible to all. 

rready, Set, GO!

See what we did there? Contact us for more puns, crowdsourcing innovation ideas, and engagement expertise. If you’re rready to get started right away, schedule a demo below. We’ll help you achieve your innovation goals by elevating your internal resources or building a program from scratch.
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