Not long ago, a business’s innovation process followed a pretty predictable storyline: A small group of people came up with an idea. They created a prototype of the new product or did a test run of the new process. They had a small focus group of customers provide them with feedback, and adapted accordingly. Repeat until the final product is released to the public.
But that process just doesn’t work anymore. Instead, more and more companies are realizing that they need to tap into the “genius of the crowd,” and gather input from a wide customer base. Why is this becoming the new trend for modern businesses? Here are 5 reasons.
Trends Are Changing Faster Than Ever
The world used to move a lot more slowly than it does now. With technology booming and an incredible level of connectivity around the globe, consumer trends are changing faster than ever. And, quite frankly, the old way of innovating took way too long. If you’re still following that process, by the time you roll out your new product, it’s already going to be obsolete or out of style.
Crowdsourcing for your innovation program is much faster and allows you to stay ahead of consumer trends, rather than always scrambling to keep up.
Increased Ease of Communication with Customers
Another reason companies are turning to crowdsourcing for business ideas is that it’s actually possible! A couple of decades ago, there was no effective way to gather input from thousands of customers at once. But thanks to the internet—and, more specifically, social media—this is something that happens every single day.
Now, you can poll thousands of customers, gather feedback, and pinpoint trends in a matter of hours. With the level of connection, businesses can now have with their customers, it’s only natural that you take advantage of that connection to improve your company.
More Cost Effective Than Focus Groups
One issue with focus groups is that they eat up a chunk of your company’s budget. Often, members of focus groups want some form of compensation; plus, you need an employee (or employees) to spend hours analyzing the feedback you receive, which is another hit to your business’s bank account.
But most consumers will answer online questionnaires and polls completely for free. And the right kind of innovation management software can analyze trends for you, saving you a significant number of employee hours—and, therefore, a significant amount of money.
Wider Variety of Input
Old-fashioned innovation, as mentioned above, often relied on the ideas of a small group of individuals. You had the same few people in a room together, again and again, hoping that these few minds would be able to continually churn out new ideas. But you can only combine the same ingredients in so many ways.
By utilizing the genius of the crowd for your innovation programs, you’re gathering a huge variety of input from numerous sources. These are people with different backgrounds, levels of education, and totally unique perspectives regarding your business and your products. This incredible variety allows you to get more ideas added to the mix, which makes it more likely that you’ll be the first to discover an incredible innovation in your industry.
Improved Customer Relations
Finally, today’s consumers are no longer satisfied with being told what they need by a faceless organization. Your customers want to feel connected to your company, and more so, they want to feel that they are truly valued as a customer. By tapping into their ideas, you’re showing them that you value their input, and making them feel as if they are a part of your organization.
Additionally, because you’re getting your ideas directly from your consumers, you’ll be able to more quickly address issues they have or improve your products to better satisfy their needs. Obviously, this is the kind of thing that leads to happy, loyal customers.
With benefits like these, it’s little wonder that most modern businesses are tapping into the genius of the crowd. Have you caught onto this important business practice? If not, it’s high time you climb aboard, before your business is left at the station.