What Value is Created by Crowdsourcing Innovation?

What value is created by crowdsourcing innovation? That is the question we sought to answer. What followed was an 18-month journey that I am proud to share the results. Our quest was to define business value as a way of supporting leaders who intrinsically knew that their crowdsourcing innovation programs had substantial benefit to the organization, but were challenged to articulate it in a manner that garnered executive support, organizational priority, and much needed resources. If we were able to answer the question above, we believed that crowdsourcing innovation leaders would be able to realize their programs’ full potential and in turn, create powerful strategic assets for their companies. The goal of our research (#crowdsourcinginnovation2016) – benchmark crowdsourcing innovation best practices and begin to quantify and qualify the value of community as it relates to this process. 

What did the research reveal?

The value of crowdsourcing innovation generated three types of benefits:

  • Amplification of Member Voice
    • Ideation and challenge based innovation programs highlight the value of member voice, expand the diversity of ideas, and deepen customer/employee relationships.
  • Creation of an Innovation Culture
    • Crowdsourcing innovation programs weave innovation into their culture.
    • The process itself adds value and builds a knowledgebase.
  • Generation of Business Value (see image below)
    • Crowdsourcing creates a strategic asset for the corporation.
    • Programs generate hard value: revenue, speed innovation, improve the customer experience, and reduce costs. They can also can add “soft value,” in the areas of culture, agility or responsiveness, collaboration and retention.


Source: Techstra Solutions

In addition:

  • Taking a community-oriented approach to a crowdsourcing innovation program is a key differentiator. It maximizes the opportunity due to its generative ability over time.
  • Ideation and challenged-based innovation programs generate similar types of business value even though they may differ over business goals.
  • And so much more…

In our Crowdsourcing Innovation to Create Business Value white paper you will find business value articulated across multiple dimensions, best practices, pitfalls to avoid, and 10 key questions to ask prior to launching an ideation or challenge-based community. Download the research now.

The team consisted of some of the most amazing people I know. They never stopped charting a path forward –  Sam Creek, CA Technologies, Max Ebnother, Intel; Tracy Maurer, UBM, Aaliyah Miller, Aetna; Lori Harrison-Smith, Steelcase; and Russ Whitchurch, Adobe. In addition, this research was conducted in partnership with the Community Roundtable – Rachel Happe, Ted McEnroe, and Hillary Boucher.  Matt Crespi, a doctoral student from Carnegie Mellon University, served as a research advisor. Research participants included global and regional leaders in the financial services, technology and medical insurance industries. I can’t thank everyone enough for their ongoing commitment and support.

I look forward to your feedback and learning more to about your company’s approach to crowdsourcing innovation and the value it creates. In addition, join me tomorrow for #ESNchat, Thursday at 2ET on Twitter where we will be discussing the research in more detail.


Founder, Techstra Solutions