Crowdsourcing: buzzword or really a new world of business?

crowdsourcingCBS states that definitions and terms about crowdsourcing vary, but the basic idea is to tap into the collective intelligence of the public at large to complete business. Is it helping to improve your business or is it just a buzzword?

Wikipedia can be seen as a classic example of crowdsourcing where the distinction between consumer and producers has become blurry.  In turn, Wikipedia’s written by ‘everyone’ page about crowdsourcing describes it as “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.”

But as some critics ask: isn’t that just free labor? Yet free labor is only a narrow part of crowdsourcing’s appeal, CBS writes. More importantly, it enables managers to expand the size of their talent pool while also gaining deeper insight into what customers really want.

So crowdsourcing is a relatively new creative (and ok, cheap) way to include your customer’s feedback and ideas into your product or service. But, a concept that emphasizes how important the voice of the customer is, is tempting to use very often.

Nissan is using it as well. They announced their new Titan project that will be made with the help of enthusiast pickup fans. Nissan’s full-size Titan pickup will become the automaker’s next crowd-sourced project vehicle that will be fueled by social media. Fans can submit their “ultimate outdoor adventure” by Twitter or video and in the months that follow they can see the productions of the Titan pickup through Facebook and Twitter. But if Nissan launches this new vehicle already in the coming months, aren’t they just customizing their existing Titan? What do you think: is this a real crowdsourcing project?

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