Crowdsourcing leverages the collective intelligence of a community to generate ideas, solve problems, or complete tasks.

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Crowdsourcing harnesses the collective intelligence of a broad external community to contribute ideas, solve problems, or perform tasks that traditionally would be completed by internal teams or specific contracted suppliers. This approach taps into a diverse set of skills and labour resources, enhancing innovation and productivity at a significantly lower cost and reduced risk.

Crowdsourcing For Problem Validation

Difficulty/Ease: 4/10
Organizing a crowdsourcing initiative can be moderately challenging. It requires setting up a platform for submissions, ensuring clear communication about the project’s goals, and managing contributions from a diverse and often large number of participants.

Time Taken: 4/10
Crowdsourcing can speed up innovation by simultaneously exploring multiple avenues and solutions, providing rapid feedback and iterations compared to traditional internal development cycles.

Evidence Level: 7/10
Crowdsourcing provides a moderately high level of evidence for validating customer problems. The volume, quality, and diversity of contributions offer insights into the feasibility and desirability of potential solutions.

Metrics for Crowdsourcing

Evidence Metrics:

  • Volume of Contributions: Measures the amount of input or number of solutions submitted by the crowd.
  • Quality of Outputs: Assesses the usability and creativity of the solutions provided.
  • Diversity of Ideas: Evaluate the range of solutions, highlighting innovation’s breadth.
  • Cost and Time Efficiency: Tracks the resources saved compared to conventional development methods.


  • Feasibility: Demonstrates the practicality of ideas by quickly sourcing a wide range of solutions and identifying the most promising ones.
  • Desirability: Gauges market interest and acceptance by involving potential users directly in the creation and refinement process.

These metrics validate the effectiveness of crowdsourcing as a strategy for reducing development risks while maximizing attempts at achieving product-market fit.


To effectively utilize crowdsourcing for problem validation, follow these steps:

  1. Define the Objectives: Clearly articulate what you want to test or solve through crowdsourcing.
  2. Choose the Right Platform: Select or build a platform that facilitates easy interaction and submission of ideas.
  3. Engage the Community: Promote the initiative to attract a diverse and skilled crowd.
  4. Set Clear Guidelines: Provide participants with clear instructions on the project’s goals and what is expected from their contributions.
  5. Monitor and Manage Submissions: Keep track of contributions to ensure quality and relevance.
  6. Evaluate Results: Assess the submissions to identify viable solutions and gather insights.

What Should I Use Crowdsourcing For?

Crowdsourcing is ideal for:

  • Generating a wide array of ideas quickly from a diverse set of perspectives.
  • Testing concepts with a large audience to validate demand and usability.
  • Refining products based on community feedback, ensuring the final product meets user expectations.


Analyzing the results from a crowdsourcing initiative involves:

  • Synthesizing data from the volume and quality of contributions to determine the most promising ideas.
  • Leveraging community feedback to refine concepts and align them more closely with user needs.

Tools That Can Be Used

Effective tools for managing a crowdsourcing project include:

  • Online platforms like InnoCentive, Kickstarter, or specific forums that cater to the target industry.
  • Social media to engage with participants and promote the initiative.
  • Analytics tools to track participation, engagement, and the effectiveness of contributions.

Examples of Companies That Use This Method

  1. Uber: In its early stages, Uber crowdsourced feedback from both drivers and riders to improve its ride-sharing service and app functionality.
  2. Airbnb: Hosts provide local knowledge and experiences, which Airbnb leverages to create unique, crowd-curated travel guides and recommendations.
  3. Twitter: The platform’s hashtag feature and trending topics were born from user behaviour, demonstrating how crowdsourcing can shape product development.
  4. Wikipedia: This online encyclopedia is entirely crowdsourced. Users contribute and edit articles to create a comprehensive knowledge base.
  5. LEGO Ideas: Allows fans to submit new product concepts, which are then voted on by the community. Successful ideas are turned into official LEGO products.
  6. Starbucks: My Starbucks Idea platform lets customers suggest improvements, new products, or service ideas. Popular suggestions are implemented, ensuring customer satisfaction.
  7. Airbnb: Used crowdsourcing to create city guidebooks by leveraging the knowledge of local hosts, providing authentic travel experiences for guests.
  8. Lay’s: “Do Us a Flavor” campaign invites customers to create new chip flavours. Winning flavours are produced and sold, validating market demand.
  9. NASA: Utilizes crowdsourcing for various projects, such as the NASA Open Innovation Pavilion, which gathers public input on space exploration challenges.

Crowdsourcing is a powerful method for quickly and efficiently exploring multiple solutions to a problem, tapping into global insights and creativity, and significantly lowering the risks associated with product development.