The Interesting Question tool gives us the principles and process for creating crowdsourcing challenges that are based around clear, compelling and communicable questions.
Writing effective questions for crowdsourcing is an art. Use this tool to help perfect it using the following principles:
What qualifies as interesting?
Firstly, an Interesting Question needs to be interesting to the crowd to ensure enthusiastic participation. This means it should be relevant to our crowd members and motivating to potential business partners.
The question also needs to be interesting to our organisation. This seems obvious but it pays to check that all our stakeholders are supportive of the challenge. In this way the winning ideas have more chance of being developed and commercialised.
Does our question qualify as a ‘burning platform’ that is urgent and important?
Would answering it increase growth or avoid a serious market issue?
Is it a question that we have failed to answer internally?
If so our question probably qualifies as ‘interesting’ to our organisation.
Interesting Questions obey the ‘Goldilocks principle’
They should neither be too broad nor too narrow in scope. Broad questions like ‘Can you help us create a new product?’ contain no category information or clues about what a good answer might be. Narrow questions that are too specific leave no room for imaginative ideas and tend to be full of jargon. They are often answers masquerading as questions.
An Interesting Question needs to be jargon-free, compelling and 20 words or less. It can often be useful to refer to a numerical target. To write an Interesting Question, we start with ‘Can you help us…’. Imagine your question on a poster in a park. If it would work there, it is likely to get circulated e.g. on Twitter and attract more attention. Here are some examples that we have used successfully:
Can you help us double the fun of the LEGO play experience by making it more social? (LEGO)
Can you help us clean peoples’ homes to the same level of cleanliness by just using one cup of water? (P&G)
How can we help people do good by using their mobile phone in 3 minutes or less? (EE)
Once we have a few candidate Interesting Questions, it is important to test them out. Do non-experts understand? Are people excited? Can they think of clear answers? If so, our question qualifies as ‘interesting’.