An entrepreneur's guide to crowdsourcing

  • How the crowdsourcing business model works
  • Ten ways that entrepreneurs can use the masses to create an impact
  • Businesses are crowdsourcing to cut costs, engage customers and develop innovative ideas

Fergus Dyer-Smith explains how every small business can tap into the wisdom of the crowd.

Do you know the name of the person who invented the safety pin? Most people don’t. He was called Walter Hunt and his one creative idea changed the way the entire world does certain things. Innovative ideas can come from anyone. There are millions of exceptionally creative people on this planet but that doesn’t mean any of them actually work for you.
The beauty of crowdsourcing means that you can tap into this global talent pool with just the click of a mouse. By sidestepping expensive suppliers and going direct to a limitless resource of world experts – freelancers, hobbyists, stay-at-home parents – you benefit from highly competitive rates and ultra quick solutions.

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Outsourcing / Crowd surfing

There are some great resources listed here, however you don't mention the nightmare or complete lack of control that comes with outsourcing or the lack of stabilty when not dealing with an agency.

While using an agency may be more expensive , you do get a full team working on your project including creative, design, tech, account mangement and with that comes experiance, knowledge and in some cases a whole host of awards.

Have a look at


Great article Fergus - can I add Smartsheet's integration with Mechanical Turk to the list?

I'd also agree with Mark though.  Managing a crowdsourcing project takes time and effort - how do you sift the great ideas from the truly dire ones?  Or make sure that the project is keeping on track or has the right description in place?   Project management of these tasks is the key to harnessing the power of crowdsourcing and Wikinomics. 

You don't necessarily need to micromanage it, but having someone keeping an eye on the progress can be a fantastic help to achieving results.  (Or of course use a virtual assistant to do it for you!)


Crowd sourcing

Well thanks Caroline you kind of answered the previous comment.

For smaller or more early stage businesses the choices are often made by the owners and so working with these sites has no real impact on the decision making process. An agencies fees are just not an option and they would be likely working with a freelance designer for example and having to make those decisions anyway

I agree though I still think there is a great deal of value a media agency can add to businesses BUT the model could shift. The value add being provided by the agency, (e.g the working up of concepts)  but the actual work of creation by some form of CS solution. 

I only mentioned a few sites here but check for a more comprehensive list

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