Questions to Ask the Crowd
 

Questions to Ask the Crowd

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The difficulty for many that are looking to start a conversation with a new open innovation platform is not knowing what sort of questions they should ask and what sort of questions are most impacting ...

The difficulty for many that are looking to start a conversation with a new open innovation platform is not knowing what sort of questions they should ask and what sort of questions are most impacting businesses.

Learn a common set of questions to jump-start the innovation process in this tip sheet from IdeaScale.

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Questions to Ask the Crowd Questions to Ask the Crowd Document Transcript

  • What Questions Can You Ask the Crowd? How to Get the Conversation Started Open Innovation Crowdsourcing, network intelligence, customer or employee engagement – these are the different names that we put to a very basic process called “open innovation.” Crowdsourcing.org defines open innovation as sourcing “outside of the entity or group to generate, develop and implement ideas. In a world of widely distributed knowledge, where the boundaries between a firm and its environment have become more permeable, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research and ideas to maintain a competitive advantage.1” “In a world of widely distributed knowledge, where the boundaries between a firm and its environment have become more permeable, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research and ideas to maintain a competitive advantage.” Certainly this has remained true for numerous companies that begin by reaching out to those on their frontlines: their employees and their consumers. They are able to find the edge of their companies and industries by asking people for new paths towards developing great products and great brands. However, the difficulty for many that are looking to start a conversation with a new open innovation platform is not knowing what sort of questions they should ask and what sort of questions are most impacting businesses. IdeaScale has surveyed numerous clients to discover what sorts of questions they have been asking their network and also which questions have yielded the most meaningful results. We’ve included a list of them below. Common Questions How Can We Improve? This is often one of the most broad questions that begins the discussion with the crowd, because an interested network is usually carrying a vast array of thoughts about how a company might improve. The initiative usually kicks off with a high level of engagement because of so much preexisting content. 1 "Open Innovation." Crowdsourcing.org. MassSolution, n.d. Web. 06 July 2013.
  • What Questions Can You Ask the Crowd | Page 2 What Do We Need to Know About Our Industry or Our Product? Oftentimes, the crowd can help direct market research by feeding information about what they think is relevant to growth and the needs that are not yet met for the consumer. Connections about competitors, product needs, new possibilities can come from unexpected places, especially when those connections can be made by anyone and collaborated on by the community. How Can We Make My Business More Sustainable? One of the most common business concerns today is operating with a minimal carbon footprint. It is also one of the best ways to endear consumers to a product or a line of products. Sometimes surprising ways to conserve energy and materials can also lead to surprising savings. How Can We Better Align to Our Mission? Every business has a mission, but it is difficult (especially as a company is rapidly and successfully growing) to manage a company in parallel to that mission - asking a more objective audience with insight into all the moving parts is perhaps one of the most meaningful questions about which you can engage the crowd. One of the most common business concerns today is operating with a minimal carbon footprint. It is also one of the best ways to endear consumers to a product or a line of products. Who Is Willing to Work on Which Projects? At last, we are in the age of the micro-volunteer (made easier due to an always-on digital environment). Perhaps there are those in your network who would like to take part in the work that you have to do (the work that they are already discussing). Reaching out to the crowd and assigning ownership to specific tasks is a great way to keep the whole network working with you. How Can We Save Money? What Potential Opportunities Do We Have to Increase Revenue? This is the question that effects every business and one that almost every company addresses at some point. Identifying new opportunities to make or save money can not only be a savings for you, but a savings to your end users who will appreciate new levels of affordability. Some repeat this question as a contest on an annual basis. What New Products Should We Offer? Differentiation is an important factor in continuing to grow as a business. Companies that look to their consumers first to not just develop a product, but let their network know what is happening during each stage of development, will also have a powerful marketing tool on their hands. But remember: communication is key. What Online Content Do You Have to Share? A company’s network usually has multiple pieces of collateral that they are going to share digitally anyways. They might as well share them with you so that you take their feedback or promote them if they help spread a valuable message. Sometimes it’s video, sometimes it’s information, sometimes it’s just the voice of your customer or employee - but it can lead to very important materials that become part of the life of your business.
  • What Questions Can You Ask the Crowd | Page 3 What Questions Have You Already Answered for Us? Of What Are You the Expert? A company’s network is often their most valuable knowledge base, building a responsive, collaborative audience will often create a living archive of knowledge not just for you, but for your whole community. It eliminates redundancies and helps to generate positive feelings among your subscribers. How Can We Be More Healthy? In addition to meeting green mission standards, many companies are looking to source new ways to create a healthier environment for their employees or end product for their consumers. Asking what to do in order to make things healthier is a great line of questioning to begin the discussion. What Do You Have In Common with Each Other? Building a profile of the network of employees or consumers is also great for marketing specialists and product developers. It allows companies to identify talent and better understand what they have to offer. Allowing a clustered network to form around particularly innovative ideas makes it possible to generate an environment of collaboration.
  • What Questions Can You Ask the Crowd | Page 4 What Questions Should We Be Asking? Perhaps this actually could be the first and best question to ask: allow the crowd to set the agenda. After all, they’re going to be the ones that want to talk and want to share their ideas - let them tell you where to begin. But really, these are all just starting points, common business questions that have a wide variety of approaches and moving parts - that’s what makes them ideal for the crowd; the box is already about to burst open. Perhaps the better question is “what can’t you ask the crowd?” IdeaScale and Innovation Businesses that use an online tool capable of not just prioritizing ideas and inspiration, but also generating a community around those ideas are the ones that are leading their industry. They are considering engagement, their brand reach, what the costs of innovation are and what the gains of innovation are. IdeaScale has been providing a flexible platform for numerous businesses since 2008. From the beginning the guiding principles have been those of engagement and collaboration. It’s not just a list of ideas, it’s a community around those ideas. These are just a few of the metrics to consider as you help build your community.