Innovation Derived from Crowdsourcing
How will I create a disruptive innovation for my company? Gartner, an information technology (IT) research and advisory company of the US, predicts that by 2017, more than half of consumer goods manufacturers will receive 75% of their consumer innovation and R&D capabilities from crowdsourced solutions. With that said, if a company relies only on internal innovation at this point, it could be evaluated as already dead. Or it will die, soon. If you want to maintain market competitiveness, you must utilize the ‘crowd’.
The era of digital business is said to begin in 2020, in which more than 7 billion people, businesses, and at least 30 billion devices will connect to the Internet to communicate, trade, and negotiate mutually. As the era of Internet of Things (IoT), in which all things are inter-connected, matures, more and more information will become accessible. Gartner predicts that, by 2017, 80% of consumers will collect, track and barter their personal data for cost savings, convenience, and customization.
Consumer participation rises to the top of the list as the most valuable asset in such an era of digital business. Business models will be achieved through crowdsourcing and marketing models through contests.
Crowdfunding, which has attracted a lot of attention recently, is a type of crowdsourcing. Contests are being used as a marketing tool for new products to enter the market. A great example of crowdsourcing is Wikipedia. In just 15 years, Wikipedia collapsed the Encyclopedia Britannica of nearly 250 years of history. Wikipedia contains more than 40 times more knowledge than Britannica. It embodies the incredible power of collective intelligence.
Freelancer.com, which lends quantum mechanic experts by the hour; Tongal, which helps produce novel TV commercials at one-hundredth of the normal price; ReCAPTCHA, which distinguishes between bot and person and digitizes books; Duolingo, which teaches people new languages and translates the web at the same time, are the leading crowdsourcing platforms for the emerging markets of billions.
Recently, Microsoft held an IoT solution design contest in collaboration with Arduino at Hackster.io, a DIY makers community, in order to launch Windows 10 and Azure, a cloud computing platform, to the IoT market. More than 1,500 ideas were submitted in just two months, and more than 150 projects were completed in another period of two months.
WIZnet’s Maker Space Museum collection also surpassed 1,500 UCC(User Created Content) in just a year and a half. These are all IoT device prototypes developed using WIZnet’s Internet processor chip. Software and hardware as well as development processes are all open and sharable. UCC are mostly collected from open hardware communities such as Hackster and Instructables, and also from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
More than 100 new UCC for various applications are being collected each month. More than 10,000 UCC will be accumulated in five years. It is considered that the curation business to categorize and distribute content will be important by that time; Users will participate in it and their participation will form a fandom, composed of loyal customers. Brands will be made by spreading word of mouth into open source communities. You may only see it as a faraway dream, but it is not a dream. The power of crowdsourcing is powerful and you should make good use of it.
YB Lee, President of WIZnet
This column contributed to ‘ET Times’ in Korea on June 29, 2016