The origins of ‘crowdsourcing’ lie very much in the business world. The term is widely accepted to have been coined by Wired magazine in 2006, in an article analysing how businesses were beginning to outsource tasks, usually handled by an individual to a larger number of people, in the expectation it would gain faster results for a cheaper price. Since then, business use of crowdsourcing techniques has become more established. Crowdfunding, for example, has become a common way of raising funds, while Spigit Engage customers provide a great example of how businesses are applying crowdsourcing to the innovation process.
Innovation appears prominently as part of almost any company’s strategy. Why then is it so hard to make it repeatable, scalable and lasting success? Scholars name key elements that bring innovation in sync, such as leadership, strategy and governance. Often, though, it’s not what organizations aren’t doing that causes a problem, but what they are doing—they’re tripping themselves up.
In the autumn of 1906, 85-year-old Sir Francis Galton made a fascinating discovery on the judgment power of crowds: The accuracy of groups is far greater than of individuals. It’s a well-known story yet worth recapping. Surprisingly, the central character is a fat ox.