Crowd Sourced Innovation - The Next Big Thing

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 1002 , Published on 19 December 2014

Participate in ABC Ad Making Competition & Win Exciting Prizes & A Certificate or a Chance to Intern with PQR private limited.

Participate in XYZ Article Writing Competition & Prizes worth 25000 up for grabs.

Participate in STU Case Study Competition & Win a chance to get an offcampus Interview.

And the list goes on & on & on.

Appears as if, this sudden wave of CrowdSourced Contribution has taken all the companies into trance especially the MBA-Centric ones.


Now to dig deeper, what could be the reasons for companies being?

1. Social Media branding (for free) - Now most of these competitions involve sharing the student entries and getting it liked that effectively is an attempt to garner more and more visibility to the brand especially with such a precise target segment audience.

This is far cheaper & more productive than hiring a so called ‘Social media promotion firm’ for whom it’s just another project while for students participating in such competitions, it is a significant portion of their lives (Read CVs)

2. Idea Generation – It’s an fact beyond the scope of argument, that the working professional often go casual or complacent or simply fall prey to failing to catch up with new trends, ideas and newer perspective, while a student is constantly in touch with this dynamic world, but the downside being some of his ideas aren’t quite economically or financially feasible, BUT BUT BUT, even if a company gets a 1000 Ideas (Say in case of a case study competiton) and if we consider 3% quality ratio, they still got 30 Brilliant ideas in an investment that is less than a single month’s pay of the hired permanent employee.

A Classic Example would be, Mahindra War Room, where Thousands of Brilliant Minds from top 40 B Schools of India compete to carve out a strategy for the automobile giant to enter into newer markets or expand into the existing market, where hiring a BCG Consultant would have costed in crores and yielded much fewer ideas than this competition fetches them at cost of a few job opportunities for best contributors and small cash reward.

Yet another instance would be, Reckit Beckinser’s – ‘Make an Ad and get your MBA Sponsored by us Contest’ it is beyond the comprehension abilities to just imagine the synergy effect of 1000s of young bright creative individual trying to communicate a message across the masses, with myriad perspectives that can be intermingled to create a magic potion.

3. Content Generation – InsideIIM, CareerAnna, and many more, the Article writing competition ensures a far better quality article being contributed by the student community who is keen to get its name featured on an electronically national platform. Can you expect the same zeal & enthusiasm from the permanent team that is ensured to get his fixed salary if he performs at a bare minimum expected level.

4. RoI – Too hard to do the maths, Now Imagine More Ideas, Better Ideas, Cheaper ideas, Eager Ideas, Brand Promotion & Customer Engagement, today a T Shirt & Merchandize making company hosts a competition for funny one liners from college going students, not only is it getting hundreds of entries, but also getting better entries than a team of 4-5 creatives can concoct in a brainstorming session.

Also they make it into the eyes of their end customer i.e. College Going Student, who in turn are the primary target segment & cause behind the inception of their very own industry.

So now the participating students are their employees as well as their customers.

Talk about killing two birds with one shot.

But, as we move ahead, the question knocks at our doors,

Is it Feasible or Just a Temporary Wave/Trend that will bury deep into the oblivion with the passage of time?

I guess, it’s too soon to say, But as far as I can see, it’s here to stay and maybe even extend to sectors other than marketing, like say Science, where internet giants may very well tomorrow ask the people to suggest ideas for mobile applications and get their due credits while their programmers toil harder to make those crowdsourced ideas to turn into a living reality.

And I Strongly believe, that if utilized and tapped properly, we will have immense unforeseen opportunities that can result in steep rise in profitability, efficiency and popularity of a company that keeps trudging on this unchartered path of Crowd Sourced Innovation.

This article has been authored by Nikhil Mukhija MIB, Delhi School of Economics


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