Crowdsourcing useful ideas depends on two key factors: the first one who is your crowd. As innovation consultant Eugene Buff argues, there is no way to choose the “right” participants. Good ideas can come from anywhere, and expertise in a field is not a requirement for developing viable solutions. Imaginatik has also shown with their own data that there is no correlation between job title and the expected value of an idea.
Secondly, as Eugene argues, properly defining the problem you want to solve is key. By providing the crowd with clear, precise, and preferably quantitative requirements for a solution, submission quality is dramatically increased. In addition, it also facilitates the job of evaluating proposals quality, as it makes lower quality ones more clearly defined.
And how do you formulate a good question? Peter Drucker in his 1954 book The Practice of Management delineates what became known as SMART criteria – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Of course there is no one size fits all guideline – innovation can be subjective – but when framing your problem, it is a good idea to ask yourself how well you check off the SMART checklist.
For more insightful discussions on creating good challenges, check out Eugene’s blog at https://innovationobserver.com