First, the definition that we have at PubliVate of crowdsourcing can be narrow in comparison to how others use the term. The story I read and am referencing and talking about below would not necessarily be something that we see a lot of in our engagements, as of yet. But…we certainly consider that it is part of the crowdsourcing family and see clear line of sight to engagements like this in the future. More importantly, it helps to illustrate one end of the multi-dimensional spectrum of crowdsourcing.
The blog by Patrick Meier is an interesting, compassionate, and perhaps life-saving use of collaboration to solve critical and urgent challenges, in this case in Haiti. Whereas most of our engagements are of a broader, lengthier nature (and don’t normally save lives) there is absolutely a thread between what we do today and how we expect to see crowdsourcing evolve in the public sector in the coming months and years. While Patrick and
team were crowdsourcing for a few hours we tend to have engagements for a number of weeks. In an earlier blog about crowdsourcing recipes, the conclusion we have is that you will see hundreds if not thousands of “recipes” and crowdsourcing cooking books of all sorts. They will each, we hope, be valuable and they will
all have their own DNA.
One of the crowdsourcing chapters (can you sense a book being developed here) will be on “rhythm”. We often talk about rhythm with our clients and what that means and how important it is to an engagement. Obviously, the rhythm for what Patrick and contributors was involved in was short and frenetic and understandably so. In it
duration was the main ingredient. The other end of the rhythm spectrum would be a multi-month engagement that may involve several communication surges, adjusting of key engagement elements and methodologies, widening or narrowing the stakeholders involved, among other adjustments. All of those elements play a role in the rhythm and cadence of your engagement and, ultimately, will carry direct line of sight to the degree of success that you, your partners, and stakeholders achieve. And the chances are pretty much 100% that the
next crowdsourcing engagement that you do will have a different foot print. This is the case even if it is an annual repeat of an engagement with the same methodology, criteria, and attributes.
When organizations fail to properly align their business objectives and success criteria (with rhythm being one area) with their crowdsourcing activity, as highlighted in this blog by Gartner’s Andrea DiMaio, they run the risk of having a less than optimal engagement. Finding the right rhythm for a crowdsourcing engagement – particularly given the complexities of the public sector - can be simple or multifaceted…but getting it right is crucial for success.