5 steps to building a crowd-powered business

It’s never been easier to access the best ideas, the best people or the best technologies anywhere in the world. There is literally infinite potential in the crowd of people both inside and outside of your organisation.

Yet participating with ‘the crowd’ can be completely overwhelming so most people and most organisations tend to just tend to ignore it or don’t know where to start. However it’s no longer merely possible to harness the power of the crowd, it is increasingly necessary to remain globally competitive.

MHG-Blue Crowd

So here are 5 ways to get proactive and build a crowd-powered business.

  1. Context is queen – Who, why, where and how people are talking about your business (or not talking about you perhaps) is often more important than what they are saying. So start listening more carefully and identify where the best insight and opportunities are coming from. Is it from your customers, suppliers or employees or elsewhere? Wherever it is, start to engage and build your crowd accordingly.
  2. Identify interesting questions – Next identify which of your most urgent business needs you need help with and turn them into interesting crowd challenges if they meet these three criteria: a) Does the business need pass the Goldilocks test? In other words is it too broad, too narrow, or just right? b) Is the challenge both valuable to our business and we know we can’t solve this challenge on our own? c) Is it both important to us and also interesting to all of our potential crowd collaboration partners?
  3. Launch and learn – The only way to build a crowd-powered business is to learn by doing. So create a programme and a platform to invite ideas, insights and opportunities from your crowd. Open the doors to part of your business and rapidly prototype new partnerships. Explore and scale the most promising new opportunities together with members of your crowd and refine the process over time based on feedback.
  4. Concede control cautiously – The art of 21st century business is to give up control graciously without loss of face, to paraphrase Peter Drucker. So find ways to let go and get out of the way of the creativity and contributions of others. Continuously look to build and empower a community crowd and harness and augment their intelligence, your empathy, and in so doing strengthen the gravitational field around your business.
  5. Dissolve the boundaries – Ultimately, if you follow the steps above the edge of your business will begin to blur and then dissolve completely over time. Who is on the pay roll and who is working for fun starts to become less important. If we build a crowd powered business then employees and the crowd can become interchangeable. In so doing always make sure you give more to your crowd than you take.

In summary, it’s possible, and increasingly necessary, to embed the crowd at the heard of every aspect of your business. After all, every person you ever meet knows something you don’t so it’s time to listen and learn from them. Follow these 5 steps above to make crowd collaboration core to everything you do, and in so doing build a better business.

by Roland

Photocredit 

This post was first published on Virgin.com here.

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