As an example of crowdsourcing in the outdoor and action sports industry, GPS data could be used for consumer behavioral research. There are millions of people rolling around with GPS apps (your Iphone is full of them) and gear (Recon Instruments has Goggles) generating data that is uploaded and shared all over the world as they go skiing, boarding, surfing, skating etc. Great, sounds like a lot of fun and extremely useful for augmenting the lifestyle experience, but now what? Are these companies thinking ahead? What about the behavioral data and insight that could be gleaned that would allow us to optimize trails, build better gear suited to their actual activities or create personalized real-time experiences (e.g. don’t go that way jackass!) etc? To avoid a bad crowdsourcing experience:
- Consider the ethical, social, and economic implications. The experience won’t be contained internally and while using your audience sounds great when if goes well, it can be a PR nightmare if it goes south.
- Scope the entire project out and define the activities and costs required clearly to make sure you hit your objectives. To do this outline the tasks, expected durations, costs of resources (each person contributing will cost something) and risks. These key aspects could let the project spin out of control and need to be managed very carefully. In a crowdsourcing effort, with a large group of independently oriented people added to the mix, the variables increase dramatically. Many reports talk about the negative effects of crowdsourcing being that it can end up costing a business more than a tradition project.
- Also , deeply consider what the “crowd’s” motivation is. If you can’t provide value to them via what is being produced or increasing their reputation, you may have to consider a monetary incentive. In this case, it’s likely a crowdsourced project will fail if the amount is insufficient resulting in too few participants, lower quality of work and lack of personal interest in the project.
- Creating relationships with the crowd is essential. Be prepared to give guidance to the audience's questions over the entire project duration . If you’re using a global audience be prepared to communicate with them in their language of choice.
- If your organization doesn’t really run big projects typically you may consider getting some help from someone with more experience managing a large-scale, crowdsourced project.
- You essentially are creating a temporary working relationship with each participant. As with any employee you need to have written contracts, agreements and terms with crowdsourced employees.
- Expect some of the “crowd” to operate without good intentions and you’ll be all the better for it. Otherwise you may receive faulty results caused by targeted, malicious work efforts.
- Ensure that there is a fair exchange of value and respect the rights of the individual for their labor. This will ensure that individuals will continue to get significant benefit from the experience.