Insight Crowd“An insight is a surprising user observation that is compelling
enough to inspire creative ideas or innovations.”
This is a web-based crowdsourcing platform but for insights rather than ideas. We curate content and guide discussions, getting to know what our consumers think in depth and over an extended period. Running an Insight Crowd is like having the depth of a focus group but with the scale and longevity of a research panel.
First we hire and configure a crowdsourcing platform.
There are many proven and cost-effective products already available. Insight Crowds should be highly visual so pick an engaging and simple platform where consumers can upload and share photos, audio and video easily.
Having the right tone for our crowdsourcing platform can help recruit and engage people. Choosing a descriptive and light-hearted name can help (e.g. 100%Open’s ‘House Proud Crowd’ for Procter and Gamble’s Febreze, Flash and Fairy cleaning brands). We choose a visual look and a logo too.
In the context of innovation, an insight aims to inspire a creative leap by helping us understanding the user. So what sort of insights are we looking for? Here are some examples:
What do users think about existing products and services? What improvements do they suggest?
What are users’ current workarounds for problems with existing products?
How are lead users already modifying existing products?
How do users rate our new product or service ideas?
It is important to come up with an Interesting Question (see Challenge Designer) that is jargon-free, compelling and precise. It needs to be genuinely interesting to the crowd to ensure enthusiastic participation.
Decide how long we want the community to exist. Insight crowds can run for a year or more, or just a few weeks. Here is three-month plan for a typical crowd:
1. General discussion about the category, perhaps stimulated by a press article or headline.
2. Discussion about the brands and products in the marketplace now and in the past.
3. Existing workarounds or home-grown fixes for poor products and services.
4. Exposure to early innovation concepts for evaluation.
It is important to vary the format of activities in order to keep participants stimulated. Consider alternating discussions with polls, photo uploads, rating exercises and ideas challenges.
Many crowdsourcing platforms are gamified in that they have leaderboards and points awarded for various activities for submitting ideas or commenting and voting on others’ ideas. So will we give prizes for the best contributions? Will they be regular small prizes such as product samples or fewer more significant ones?
Recruiting our crowd is a key part of the process and much will depend on how successful we are at finding people that know about the subject but are also diverse. The minimum crowd size is 100. There is no maximum size but above 2000 can be hard to facilitate. (See Challenge Designer for a number of suggested ways to recruit). When recruiting our crowd we will need to tell them what we’re trying to do, how long we need them for and what their incentive is.
An Insight Crowd needs particularly attentive facilitation for two reasons. Firstly crowd members appreciate being listened to – it’s why many of them are there. They will respond positively to comments and encouragement. Secondly, regular noting and reporting by the facilitator are crucial for an Insight Crowd to create value. A good facilitator (see Facilitation Guide) will draw attention to interesting threads of conversation in real time so they can be explored and developed.
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