In the 21st century, we have easy access to everything on the Internet – created content, records, work flows and customer files. However, we each have our own base of knowledge extracted from that content.
When employers and HR managers are looking for new ideas, one way to find a solution is crowdsourcing their own employees and tapping into each worker’s base of knowledge. However, it’s key use effective tools, facilitate communication and ask the right questions.
Here are the right ways to crowdsource ideas and winning solutions for your organization.
1. Use enterprise social networks
For crowdsourcing to work, there must be some platforms where employees can communicate and share their ideas in a structured way. Enterprise social networks improve collaboration among employees and foster knowledge management by capturing tacit information. Many organizations use software such as Slack to always be in contact with their employees. This can be a good platform for crowdsourcing ideas – you can chat, have an audio or video call with your workers and get some ideas instantly. It is also a good place for brainstorming and for making little announcements.
2. Create a company culture that encourages idea sharing
This culture is mostly created in organizations that use a bottom-up management approach instead of using a top-down method. The bottom-up method encourages all employees to participate in every step of the decision-making process. They are free to choose the ways that work best for them in order to achieve their objectives. They are more open to work and to share their out-of-the-box ideas and critical thinking. That is why crowdsourcing ideas is easier for managers, employers and HR specialists if they have already created this culture in their organization.
3. Work across departments
Besides having their own responsibilities, employees should gain a holistic view of the organization’s work by communicating with other departments. When each department shares how it does its work, the whole group benefits by learning new information and asking questions. Workers have different backgrounds and viewpoints and often change specializations during their careers. A designer could have a great idea to help solve a marketing challenge or a marketer might have a great idea about next logo design for the company.
It is always better to involve several brains to get useful ideas on how to solve the problem instead of trying to fix it all on your own.
4. Ask the right questions
Obviously, asking questions to a large group of employees and crowdsourcing ideas can be challenging. You can make this process easier by using the right software to conduct live polls. The software will let you create polls and open-ended questions which will make the opinion-sharing process simpler by enabling people to text to vote. Try using Swift Polling – this real-time polling app will help you get the responses by text or SMS voting and see them on a screen in real time. This way, you can manage the responses that your colleagues are sharing and have a more clear idea about how to accomplish your strategy.
Giving employees the ability to vote on new ideas can minimize the risk that any single individual will make the wrong choice, freeing people to select ideas that they think are the most creative and applicable for the case.
Once you get the tool, you need to think about formulating your questions correctly. If questions are too vague, like “How can we increase the number of our customers?” the responses might not be practical or relevant to actual struggles and shortcomings. Likewise, if questions are too narrow, like “How would you rate our current sprint management?” you risk limiting creative input. You need to ask questions that enable the employees to use their creativity and to share their solutions for specific cases.
Crowdsourcing ideas is essential for developing your business growth strategy. By rewarding employees for sharing their ideas or responding thoughtfully to the ideas of others, they are more likely to own and deliver on the decided course of action and be happy doing it.