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Are there limits to what can be crowdsourced?

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Are there limits to what can be crowdsourced?

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The last week or so has seen a number of companies covered on the blog that have crowdsourcing at their core.  That in itself isn’t that surprising, as after all, this year has seen crowdsourcing and open innovation really take off, with any number of ventures tapping into the crowd for insights and innovations.

A lot of the most successful crowdsourced projects have shared a few characteristics however.  Foremost amongst these is that many of them have a clearly defined output.  This could be a solution to a particular problem for instance or a new product.  Both the end point is pretty clear in such circumstances, and success is relatively easy to define.

The organisations covered in recent weeks have however been looking at slightly fuzzier issues.  Agora for instance wanted to crowdsource almost their entire business, from the kind of products they produce to the way the business is run.

Wikistrat weren’t quite as conclusive, yet still relied heavily upon their crowd of consultants to construct the kind of idea storms that were then translated into solutions for their consulting clients.

In a similar vein is Franco Romanian effort Babele.  Their business model revolves around crowdsourcing large elements of the business planning process.  They invite entrepreneurs to join the site along with their ideas, and the crowd then help them to flesh out those ideas into something business worthy.

The business is still at a pretty early stage so I suspect to see it evolve considerably before it reaches a mainstream audience, but it does join a growing number of companies looking to the crowd for help with these less tangible outcomes, especially when those outcomes depend as much on the implementation of them as the ideas themselves.

This will certainly be an interesting field to watch to see how these companies overcome this issue.  In the meantime, you can check out more about Babele in the video below.

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