You are an innovative company looking for innovative and new solutions to old and new problems, and you have decided to use a crowd sourcing agency such as Brainrack for this purpose. The following is a general explanation of what I think will be beneficial for you to do before you actually start posting a crowd sourcing question. This has a lot to do with psychology.
Looking from someone else’s perspective
You are communicating with a specific group of people. These people are college students who are looking to write innovative solutions to your problems and earn money from it. In order to succeed, you should look at this problem not from your point of view, but from the point of view of the person who will send in the solutions. The question is not “How can we get the best solutions to our problem?” but “How can we help the people involved in finding and generating the best possible solution they can find?” This means we need to help them find a solution, but we don’t do the thinking for them. Instead, we support them.
How to support your solution finders
Basically, you need to define a few parameters of your search which will make it easier for the thinkers to be creative. Creativity works best when you define a threshold in which to be creative. The more you can help people find a solution, the better solutions you will get in general. Just remember this is not a school test. You are not screening people if they can do something in general, but you really want to have an answer to a specific problem. Ask yourself what you would like to know if you would have to submit a solution?
There are a few things that you can do. You can supply them with information about the problem and the solution. You can also supply them with information about the process and the content. Information about the process would be things like your expectations on how the solution should look like. For example, you can supply them with a template solution. Just get one of your co-workers to study and actually write a solution about it and you can also set the tone for the quality that you would like to have in the solutions. You can also supply the style of writing, among other things.
You can inspire them by asking questions. You can, for example, post ten questions that you think would help you to come into a solution. You could also build a platform where they can discuss possible solutions together. You can also make an information package or a video and send it to the people. You could have newsletters keeping people up to date. There are two ways you can do that, you can either ask the crowd sourcing agency to do that or you can do it yourself. What I suggest is that you have a look at what your crowd sourcing agency has to offer. They could offer the service of posting a question, getting that question to the members, giving you the possibility to receive the answers and also dealing with the payout. In these cases they don’t have additional branding and community function on their site. I guess you should go and look yourself somewhere else.
Crowd sourcing as a relationship building tool
You should see crowd sourcing as some kind of relationship building tool. Crowd sourcing achieves two things. First, you get the solution to your answer. Second, you get in contact with people who are interested in your product or service. They might be a prospect in different ways, and therefore might be interesting for your company. Given that, you should try to create a focus group of intelligent, creative individuals that take part in the project of finding a good solution to a problem. Give these problems for them to work together on and interact. They do it together and get paid for it. Crowd sourcing then starts up. I post a question and you give me an answer!
Integration with social network tools
In about a few months, I think you will see lots of integration of this kind of finding a solution with social network tools. That really makes sense because having the possibility to work together on solutions is what makes crowd sourcing so great. We don’t use that potential yet because right now everyone is sending their own solutions. You can take part as a team but if you do that you will still have to deal with all the communications and developing solutions yourself. One thing you could do as a company is to help people to work together as a team. You could for example write a text about the ten best tools if you’re working to find a solution via crowd sourcing. It will be something like getting a domain name, getting a blog, getting Google Ads and Manymoon.
I hope this clarifies a little bit how I think businesses can use crowd sourcing effectively and shed some light on how you can build your network using crowd sourcing. Let me know about your approach!