Crowdsourcing: A New Definition of Outsourcing

Crowdsourcing is improving productivity and creativity by taking a job traditionally performed by employees and outsourcing it to the public in the form of an open call. The value of crowdsourcing is that it enables businesses to expand their talent pool and gain a deeper insight into what customers really want.

Starbucks is one company that has mastered the concept crowdsourcing. The My Starbucks Idea online community encourages customers to submit ideas for better products, improving the customer experience and defining new community involvement, among other categories.

The site has three major areas through which interactions are occurring:

  • Got an Idea?
  • View Ideas
  • Ideas in Action

One key way that Starbucks is leveraging the conversations and interactions on this site is through the implementation of new ideas based on suggestions from customers. Starbucks lets customers know which ideas are under review, reviewed, coming soon and launched via blog posts written by actual Starbucks corporate employees.

My Starbucks Idea is not only a crowdsourcing tool, but it is also a market research tool that brings customer priorities to light, an online community for Starbucks enthusiasts to come together to better a product that they love and an effective internet marketing and buzz building tool.

What makes the crowdsourcing efforts of Starbucks effective?

They have combined the concepts of change, experimentation, social media, customer engagement and market research and made the results key components of their dominant brand.

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