It’s almost 10 years since innovation crowdsourcing, in its current form, is being used by companies to attack R&D challenges, solve a business issue or design digital or physical artifacts. Using crowdsourcing to innovate is not exotic anymore: In fact it seems every day there are new startups popping up trying to leverage the power of the crowd to do something.
The question is not whether this space will grow or not: It is “Where is it heading?” I recently wrote a piece for Crowdsourcing.org in which I discuss 4 key trends which are going to play an important role in this industry in 2015.
More niche service providers thanks to higher modularization:
Thanks to continuing trend in modularization of products, services and business processes, it is now possible to decompose more difficult design or innovation issues into sub-problems digestible by the crowd.
But crowds on different platforms tend to be different in terms of their interests and skillsets. In order to respond to the new gaps between required skills and the capabilities of existing communities, we will see more new platforms showing up in 2015 shaped around specific problem solving causes.
More business models around the idea of bundling:
Increasingly, we are seeing companies which are bundling community crowdsourcing services with traditional B2B or B2C products or services. As an example, think of a crowdsourcing platform dedicated to product developers sharing their product designs with others or participating in challenges dedicated to 3D model development.
A bundling service can be providing the clients with the opportunity to buy 3D printed version of the winning submissions. This will certainly lead to an important revenue stream especially if the platform features many challenges.
Slow emergence of “Crowdsourcing Integrators”:
When companies decompose an issue to sub-problems and use crowdsourcing to solve them, they have to put them back at the end. There is a need for new entities playing such integrator role and here is how it works:
You can submit your idea of a new product to the integrator – the idea is decomposed by this service provider into, naming, logo, website, concept design, and manufacturing sub-problems. After crowdsourcing each sub-issue and receiving the solutions, the integrator gives you the complete package in a turn-key mode. Models like this are already in motion on small scale: Think of Envato in web applications for example.
Higher adoption of “mobile” applications by current providers:
Some innovation crowdsourcing platforms already offer mobile version of their systems to contributors but the usage of mobile and tablet apps remains limited to more general crowdsourcing services (e.g. Placemeter).
However, a significant percentage of Internet users are now using their cell phones to navigate the web or work. This has put pressure on crowdsourcing service providers to move towards mobile space. As a result we will see new mobile apps to do innovation problem-solving more than before.
What do you think of the above scenarios? Do you agree?