Crowdsourcing Innovation Marketing: How to Encourage Intrapreneurship

"Crowdsourcing" has become somewhat of a buzzword in the corporate intrapreneurship scene. In part, this rise in popularity can be attributed to its alignment with the core values of open innovation. Crowdsourcing methodology can be leveraged to improve company culture, expand your innovation network, and improve marketing techniques. Today, rready tackles how crowdsourcing innovation marketing can increase participation in your innovation program.  

 

What Does It Mean to Crowdsource Innovation Marketing? 

Before we move on to applications and implementation (all the fun stuff), let’s take a minute to clearly define the phrase “crowdsourcing innovation marketing.” Typically, it refers to one of two things:

  1. Crowdsourcing ideas from the public to make informed decisions about marketing campaigns - Examples of this crowdsourcing technique are abundant in today’s market. For example, Starbucks’ has bean busy with their “White Cup Campaign,” which encouraged people to doodle on their blank Starbucks cups and submit photos. Voters chose their favorite design, and it was printed and released in the form of limited edition reusable cups. Not only did this engage their consumer base, but it provided Starbucks with valuable data regarding the types of designs consumers like to see. What we are trying to say is that the campaign has seen a latte of success. Get it? We'll see ourselves out. 
  2. Crowdsourcing ideas from your innovation ecosystem to market your innovation program - Since this type of crowdsourcing initiative often takes place internally, it’s tougher to find examples of its successful execution. But don’t sweat it, rready went ahead and did the research for you. Samsung partnered with the Marbler platform to create the world’s largest crowdsourcing service or the “Samsung Strategy and Innovation Center.” It’s a physical space for Samsung to collaborate with small businesses and individuals in their network to strive toward innovation goals. The SSIC is an ideal demonstration of crowdsourcing innovation marketing because they created a decentralized platform to help better their products, services, and innovation initiatives. 

Today we will focus on the latter of those two options—crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas to encourage intrapreneurship in your company. If you came for the first one, don’t worry. You’re just a click away from the right place. Check out our blog post, “The Customer-Centric Innovation Method for Profitable Growth.” Come back soon, though. We miss you when you're gone.

Crowdsourcing Innovation Marketing Ideas Externally

So who puts the “crowd” in “crowdsourcing” when it comes to crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas? Innovation leaders may choose to gather feedback from external sources, like businesses in their network or experts in their field. Crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas from other innovation-forward organizations is an excellent strategy for a few reasons:

  • Networking - Consistent collaboration with peers in your industry helps your company create bonds in the community. Competitive businesses stay up-to-date and forward-thinking by participating in innovation culture.  
  • Brand image - Partnering with established entities and individuals in your industry helps build recognition for your brand. Additionally, being a part of a community helps businesses hold themselves responsible for meeting ethical standards—like ESG criteria. 
  • Expertise - Crowdsourcing is one of the best ways to broaden your horizons. Gaining perspective from other experts in your field will help your company make more informed decisions in the future. 

The Innovation Ecosystem

Branching out and building an innovation ecosystem can be challenging, especially for start-ups looking to collaborate with established corporations. At rready, we help our clients overcome this hurdle by providing a pre-established innovation ecosystem for all *KICKBOX users to join. It’s made up of our very own innovation coaches as well as entrepreneurs, companies, and external experts from around the globe. 

*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.

In other words, it’s a network of entities across a broad range of industries that share their knowledge in a collaborative yet competitive space. This environment is perfect for crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas and initiatives. For example, Switzerland Tourism, Swiss Railway Company, and Swiss Travel System used our platform to collaborate on a sustainability campaign. 

Crowdsourcing Innovation Marketing Ideas Internally

When crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas, it’s important to remember your audience. If the goal is to market your innovation program to employees, consult them. It’s the same principle behind conducting market research to appeal to consumers. One of the best ways to determine what will work for your target audience is to ask them. Open innovation requires innovation leaders to tap into the distributed knowledge of employees. Correspondingly, you can use the same tactics to begin crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas. Of course, it’s easier said than done, so we’ll cover some proven strategies over the next couple of sections.  

Make the Innovation Pipeline Accessible

The less comfortable employees feel about providing honest feedback, the less reliable your data will be. So the first step to internally crowdsourcing innovation marketing is to foster an innovation culture. Innovation culture is motivational, collaborative, and encouraging. It validates ideas by demonstrating the value of every employee's contributions, not just those in leadership or management roles. Cultural shifts don't happen overnight, but you can take a few actions to ensure progression. First, try running your innovation processes through the brief checklist below. 

  • Is the innovation pipeline accessible? If not, what steps can we take to make it more approachable? 

Example:

Many companies use innovation management software so employees and shareholders can communicate, share ideas, and track the progress of existing projects. This approach demystifies the innovation pipeline and encourages collaboration. Technology works best in tandem with other innovation management solutions, so it’s best to tailor your innovation toolkit to fit your company’s specific needs.  

  • Is the incentive for participation clear? Whether you’re crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas for your own program or an upcoming consumer campaign, why should employees be invested in its success? 

Example:

The rready KICKBOX uses gamification to engage employees and reward participation in innovation. Gamification stimulates healthy competition and strengthens the bond between company and employee by applying game mechanics to non-game contexts. 

Provide Employees with a Platform for Feedback

Sometimes, businesses struggle to get employees engaged in their projects. Other times, they’re overwhelmed by responses and don’t have a system in place to organize everyone’s thoughts. No matter which issue your company faces, a platform for feedback collection is essential. Like innovation management software, a feedback platform streamlines and organizes the collection of valuable data. It enables innovation leaders to quickly and cleanly gather decentralized opinions. Additionally, being able to express ideas and see them be taken into consideration in real-time is culturally impactful. 

Why Companies are Crowdsourcing Innovation Marketing 

Ever heard of the term "echo chamber?" Technically speaking, an echo chamber is an enclosure where sound reverberates. Socially, it refers to an environment wherein people only encounter opinions and ideas that mirror their own. Echo chambers inhibit innovation, negating alternative views and reinforcing existing ones. Crowdsourcing innovation marketing ideas both internally and externally helps companies escape the echo chamber and recognize the value of conflicting input. 

Crowdsourcing Made Easy: rready’s Innovation Ecosystem

rready is the ideal sidekick for any innovation hero company. Sorry, we’ve been watching a lot of Spiderman lately. Anyway, you focus on innovating, and we’ll be here to support you through technology, coaching, and community and assist with your crowdsourcing innovation. Sound good? Contact us or schedule a demo below to get started.

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