Has crowdsourcing come of age?

September 24, 2009 in -e.social

buckos1By Simon Fuller. Ideas matter. Crowdsourcing is on a roll. The last month or so has seen countless crowdsourcing initiatives headlining on brand-e.biz. There’s been everything from battles to design a logo for Connaxis’ Guerra Creativa, to gentler community actions like baby brand MAM’s quest for new feeding bottle ideas.
But this is no flash in the pan, says crowdSPRING, whose website is based on the crowdsourcing model and enables brands to post their project specs online and then select the best submissions.
“We don’t see crowdsourcing as a fad, or as the next big thing,” says Ross Kimbarovsky, co-founder of crowdSPRING. “We see this business model evolving not only for the creative industry, but for many other industries, as it’s the truest form of having your customers have complete access and say over exactly what they’re looking for.”
Big brands have long been involved in the activity, with coffee chain Starbucks asking for customers’ brainwaves via its My Starbucks Idea project, while Kraft put out a call for product and packaging ideas via its Innovate With Kraft platform.
But maybe crowdsourcing has now come of age thanks to new tech and the credit crunch.
“The design industry around the world is rapidly changing,” explains Kimbarovsky. “The Internet has brought new opportunities for both clients and designers, while technology and modern software have lowered the barriers to entry. At the same time, the collapse of the worldwide economy has forced everyone to re-evaluate how they do business.
“These changes have put pressure on designers to find ways to react and adapt,” Kimbarovsky continues. “Many in the design community embrace the changes in the industry. For example, we’ve grown from zero to nearly 40,000 designers in our own community in only a little over a year. And we have more than 400,000 project requests on our site from buyers.”
And it’s good news for brands, businesses and creatives, reckons crowdSPRING.
“Crowdsourcing allows small businesses, entrepreneurs, and even large corporations whose creative budgets have been severely slashed due to the economy, an alternative method to leverage talented people around the world to create and shape their brands,” says Kimbarovsky. “Not to mention, it [has] opened incredible opportunities to creatives around the world who previously had few opportunities to compete in the traditional creative industries.
“All that matters is [the] idea and how well it meets your objectives in identifying and creating your brand,” adds Kimbarovsky. “And for buyers of creative services it is the idea that matters.”

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