Tactical, Operational & Strategic Analysis of Markets, Competitors & Industries
Dear Group members,
I recently read some interesting insights on Crowdsourcing, a practice that Wikipedia defines as "the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor to a large group of people or community (a crowd) through an open call". The key in crowdsourcing is to break down a specific task into small chunks of work that can be performed by a relevant established professional (or knowledgeable amateur) in his spare time for the benefit or a larger organization.
This type of practice has already been used in Marketing activities such as when a company wants to design a new t-shirt it makes an open call for submissions from web users. Crowdsourcing has also been used in writing code in software production. A more hypothetical example would be that a CI - professional would crowdsource parts of a background investigation into a competitor so that someone would do financial due diligence. another value chain analysis, another competitive positioning analysis etc... There are no immediate arguments that come to my mind why this sort of practice could not be used in industrial manufacturing, too, at some point in the process.
Crowdsourcing is not a subject without controversy, not least because of the implications it has for the world of work. But I started to think more deeply about the fact that the crowdsourcing assignments are sought through an "open call". More specific questions that came to my mind are: How open is the call for submissions? How much signals about its intentions does the company give away by submitting the open call, although the assignment is broken down into smaller tasks that do not necessarily give away the whole plan? How can companies utilize crowdsourcing without giving away too much information about its intentions? How can competitive intelligence professionals get intel on the intentions of competitors by mining open calls for crowdsourcing assignments? How can that be done ethically?
Maybe some of you have already come across crowdsourcing as a phenomenon, and maybe also the CI-implications of crowdsourcing. It would be interesting to discuss this topic here on the IntelCollab.
PS. The Wikipedia-entry on "Crowdsourcing" to which I referred above can be found under: