Will Crowdsourcing Impact Market Research? Learn from the Pioneers

Crowdsourcing concept in word tag cloudMarket Research industry thought-leaders think that crowdsourcing will have a disruptive impact on market research. This was not only proven through this year’s MRS Annual Conference, where a panel discussion led by Vision Critical’s Ray Poynter with experts outside the Market research industry has taken place. Based on the latest GRIT report from Greenbook, crowdsourcing was mentioned as a technique to give newly-created firms unique value propositions to differentiate themselves in the competitive landscape of Market Research.

Just before the Crowdsourcing Week (3 – 7 June) in Singapore, the first ever week-long global event with focus on the “power of the crowd”, Asia Research took the opportunity to discuss with one of the crowdsourcing pioneers, Shelley Kuipers, founder and CEO of Chaordix, headquartered in Canada, with offices in UK and US.

From being a pioneer to setting global standards with its Crowd Intelligence™ methodology, Chaordix has recently been recognized by The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) for Quality in Research. The company has been selected as an ARF Great Minds Awards 2013 Certificate Winner. “Our DNA is rooted in marketing and social communities”, says Shelley, “it has been the foundation of everything we’ve done since our original ‘experimental crowdsourcing lab’ … We tried a lot of things”, she continues, “Early ideas around crowdfunding, introducing gamification with leaderboards and badges, working at bringing crowd products to market, … and we certainly had some successes and some failures. But we were so early to market, we were “crowdsourcing” before the term was coined by Jeff Howe, who came to research what we were doing for his book”.

Chaordix collaborates with clients ranging from public and government organisations over to private enterprises. The Chaordix Crowd Intelligence™ platform supports projects such as the HTC elevate community of mobile phone prosumers, research and open innovation programs for CPG clients, such as Procter & Gamble, as well as the USAID Grand Challenges for Development programs to solve social problems like human trafficking and neonatal deaths in developing countries. “We learned that”, Shelley comments, “it’s not just about ideas. It’s about people. Finding interesting people in the crowd with interesting and actionable insights. That takes intelligent technology and processes”.

 

Read more what Shelley shared with us:

Crowdsourcing is still in an early stage. What do you think is the next step in its development?

Companies, governments and organizations are starting to see the successful integration of crowdsourcing by thought leaders like P&G, Muji, LEGO, iStockphoto, USAID, Patagonia … and understand that there is no turning back the clock. Integrating your complete community directly and transparently into your open innovation processes and culture – to enable true co-creation – is the emerging present and the future of innovation. Budgets that have been allocated to traditional processes will be shifted to integrate proven crowdsourcing systems into the social enterprise framework and open innovation.

 

Great collage made by Business people groupWhat other developments do you expect of Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation in the long term?

We expect that most organizations will eventually understand that “if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.” They’ll realize that just slapping some tracking software on a Facebook page, micro-managing a discussion forum, or opening an overflowing digital idea box won’t be enough to successfully evolve the innovation culture of your organization in a changing global economy. In the long term, an open, iterative and inclusive approach to evidence-driven innovation will become the norm. I think we’ll all look back and wonder how we put up with 80% product failure rates, despite huge broadcast advertising and traditional research spends, and scores of professionals tending traditional new product development funnels. We’ve already begun to abandon aspects of that paradigm.

 

Would you change anything in the existing models? If yes, what would you make better, or where do you think some alignment is needed?

At the start of a lifecycle for a new process of creation or innovation, there are always lots of interesting models (many with short-term thinking) that bubble up, and then most fade away. Organisations often first try to take the standard process models of the past and mesh them onto the new technology – with mixed or disappointing results. Hopefully, in time, some of the short-term thinking we see in things like the following, will fade away:

  • drive-by idea hunting forums with little reciprocity for participants;
  • sporadic online panel participants looking for opinions in exchange for a bit of cash;
  • online market research surveys with reams of complex questions that feel like an interrogation instead of a conversation;
  • the black hole where submissions go and participants never hear what happened to their ideas, hopes and insights;
  • the basic filtering of unstructured discussion content with automated tools (or only moderators) and calling it a market research or co-creation program … and saying brands can make significant business innovation decisions based upon the results;
  • endless product brainstorming sessions with ideas tucked away forever in lifeless databases;
  • insight reports coming from programs with participants choosing to supplement their incomes by answering dozens of questionnaires a week; and
  • the idea that we can simply automate everything, from mob suggestions to ultimate radical innovation.

We all know it’s more complex and sophisticated than that …and human expertise and insight is as essential as smart processes and algorithms.

 

What is for you the most important asset of Crowdsourcing and Open Innovation now, and in the next 5 years?

It’s all about community. Treating the people who participate in crowdsourcing and open innovation programs with respect and reciprocity. This is essential. There is no more “us and them.” We’re in this together. The people who roll up their sleeves, fire up their digital devices, and help organizations to really innovate are people – not users or respondents. Their personal data is … personal. They deserve to be heard clearly – without biased questions and high-pressure focus groups. They’ll work hard with you to see something they believe in come to life … that’s an amazing act of trust and loyalty – organisations need to take that seriously.

And the growth of powerful and affordable mobile devices will be a key driver of that always-on engagement, anywhere in the world. A very important aspect of Chaordix’s future will involve our work in developing nations, to give voice to emergent consumers. This holds much promise for brands who want to step up and meet their unique and clearly-articulated needs and wants.

Shelley

“Participation is the new brand.”

Shelley Kuipers, CEO & Founder of Chaordix
(inspired by Yves Béhar)[divider]

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Learn from companies such as Chaordix and eYeka at the Crowdsourcing week in Singapore from June 3 – 7, 2013.

Asia Research is media partner, and our readers get an ‘exclusive’ discount of 15 % on the day or weekly ticket. Participate and use the Asia Research code: ASRE15

 

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