Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Distributed Innovation: Saugatuck Research - How Does Crowdsourcing Work?

In our last post on distributed innovation, we touched on our perspective of what crowdsourcing actually is - specifically in the realm of enterprise cloud-based IT.

As we stated last time, "the ubiquity of the internet and cloud computing platforms amongst the world's top technical resources means that there exists a 'distributed system' of cloud experts all connected by the web. All that's required is a model to engage them." Let's dive into how that model works.

According to Saugatuck's latest research on crowdsourcing - competition is the core methodology. This is a subject we've covered in-depth in previous posts (see Emerging Maturity: The 3 Different Types of Crowdsourcing).

If your enterprise crowdsourcing partner isn't driving competition amongst participants, your benefits are going to be lacking in some shape or form.

Saugatuck: "At either end of the time-bound activity period, then, you have bookends: specification or problem definition at the outset and at the end a review process that sorts through the submissions and selects the winning entry. However, one distinctive feature of crowdsourcing is the way in which it may foster both competition and collaboration among developers."

While competition needs to be the core engine behind any enterprise-scale crowdsourced development initiative, social collaboration within the model is also a proof-point of a healthy and sustainable community. Finding an individual expert for one individual task doesn't require a complex crowdsourcing engagement. Scaling that process in an efficient manner does. A proper crowdsourcing development platform is essentially a way for an enterprise to tap into the collective genius of a community of experts. Not just scaling 1:1 interactions, but using a community model to make the world's top experts your development partner. A true community that rides the delicate balance between competing and collaborating with each other to drive the best outcomes.

The resulting impact of the correct community development framework, according to Saugatuck, are as follows:
  1. Supplement to an organization’s resources and skills gaps with current expertise
  2. Delivery of high productivity and innovation through the challenge process
  3. Simplification of reuse and resulting creation of more maintainable assets
So how does crowdsourcing work? Crowdsourcing works by driving competition amongst a large and diverse group of self-selecting experts. Larger applications are built from loosely-coupled components, driven by these competitions. The experts participate to win, and to collaborate and learn from their peers. 

Saugatuck: "High productivity and innovation stem from the structured deadlines with defined rewards and the convergence in the solution space of many skilled and experienced developers with varying backgrounds and approaches to problem-solving. Well-defined project parameters and a careful, thorough testing and review process will ensure that individual challenges will fit together into a more complex architectural context that may involve many different challenges that can make up the whole solution."

Download Saugatuck's crowdsourcing whitepaper to learn more.

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