James Surowiecki says in his book The Wisdom of Crowds that the many are smarter than the few and its collective wisdom shapes business, economies, societies and nations.

How so?

And how can ‘the many’ benefit your organization?
The answers all depend on how you harness the crowd and how you exploit the many intermediary crowdsourcing platforms available. From research and development platforms to collective intelligence and prediction platforms, you now can easily harness the power of the crowd online to improve business performance. It sounds like a great venture, doesn’t it? In actual fact, the term is referred to as crowdsourcing and could be that magical potion you’ve been looking for.

Now used mainly to the web, crowdsourcing uses the wisdom of crowds to solve problems. Sounds a lot like outsourcing, right? The only difference is crowdsourcing is based on a group rather than an individual, such as an employee.
Jeff Howe divides crowdsourcing into five categories: crowdvoting, wisdom of crowds, crowdfunding, microwork and inducement prize contests, each of which can have a massive impact on your bottom line. All you need is the right crowdsourcing platform with the right strategy and you’re heading into the new venture zone filled with opportunities.
You can start by engaging in one of these five web-based crowdsourcing platforms:
1. Springleap.com – Boast your brand on apparel like t-shirts with your own branded design contest at Springleap.com. Here you can crowdsource slick designs from around the world and invite a large community of over 250 000 vote for the best.
2. Idea Bounty – Use the wisdom of the crowds in Idea Bounty’s crowdsourcing platform which sources creative ideas to make you thrive. Here you can post creative briefs and creatives receive a bounty if they submit the winning Idea.
3. IndieGOGO – Have you ever had a brilliant idea but never had the money to fund it? Well, IndieGOGO is the largest global funding platform that uses crowdsourcing to make your idea possible, if it’s good enough of course.
4. Amazon Mechanical Turk – Get results from Mechanical Turk workers. Just fund your account, load your task and get results, it’s that simple.
5. Innocentive – If you need innovative solutions to real problems or want to expand innovation in your organisation, Innocentive is the crowdsourcing platform for you.
Of course there are many more crowdsourcing platforms you can use such as the open list of crowdsourcing examples on openinnovators.net. All you have to do is see what crowdsourcing platform works for you, engage in it and you can add tremendous value to your organisation.
About the author: Wesley Arendse writes on behalf of Now Learning, which promotes a range of online study opportunities in Australia, including marketing, management and business courses in Adelaide.