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6 Reasons to Use Crowdsourcing

Having difficulty coming up with a new idea or content? Here are six reasons to try crowdsourcing.
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Our company, Wild Creations, is coming up on our six year anniversary. We have a number of new initiatives, and we felt now would be a great opportunity to shake things up and create a new "identity" for the company. We have a comprehensive plan that starts with the simply task of developing a fresh, new logo that captured the new company vision and the free-spirited, adventurous culture we encourage.

There was one problem.

Because we had developed our original logo and have been married to it for so long, it has been difficult to break the emotional bond we have to it. Indeed, every attempt we made internally fell short, and we were certain no outside firm could create a respectable replacement for our beloved "eyes."

We were a victim of the IKEA Effect.

Then we decided to try crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is the practice of obtaining ideas, services, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, or more specifically, an online community rather than from traditional employees or service providers. We submitted a project on 99designs.com, the "world's largest online graphic design marketplace connecting passionate designers from around the globe with customers seeking quality, affordable design services."

The service is easy to use. You submit a project on the website with a description of your needs (in our case, a new logo). The online community of graphic artists then springs into action, submitting ideas with the ultimate goal of earning the project fee. Remarkably, for as little as $299, we had access to over 206,000 graphic designers, from all over the world.

The result was fantastic, and we received over 300 new and unique submissions.  Ironically, we chose a design that did not follow our suggested guidelines (it has no eyes).  It turns out we didn't know what we wanted from the start, but we knew it when we saw it!

Crowdsourcing is a quickly growing industry, not only for graphic design but also numerous other services. If you are a small business owner, here are six reasons you should be considering crowdsourcing for your business:

1. Reduce Cost

Subcontracting a graphic designer could run hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and there is no guarantee you'll like any of the designs they submit. Crowdsourcing gives you access to tens of thousands of designers for less.

2. Eliminate Overhead

Some businesses prefer to have graphic designers on staff in order to closely control the creative aspects of the business. Unfortunately this can be very cost prohibitive with salaries, payroll taxes, benefits, etc.  As well,  on-staff designers will not be fully utilized during down time.

3. Minimize Management

Every new design project needs to be managed, from conceptualization through revisions to final selection. With crowdsourcing, you submit your idea and let the tens of thousands of designers manage the project for you.

4. Maximize Options

You will most likely receive tens, hundred, and even thousands of creative options to choose from. While this could be a distraction, sites like 99Designs allows you to eliminate unappealing designs in real time, reducing the number of options as well as providing designers feedback.

5. Optimize Creativity

With no paradigms, emotional attachments, or insecurities, the designers are free to be as creative as they want. Indeed, the more creative, the more likely they will get noticed and selected.

6. Create Buzz

You can tap your professional, personal, and social networks to vote on your top choices, which will empower your fans and create excitement and anticipation for the contest.

Crowdsourcing is just starting to get the attention it deserves. It creates wonderful and affordable options for small businesses and entrepreneurs who need short term, creative work done. Indeed, prior to finding a new logo for Wild Creations, we used crowdsourcing to find the logo for our start-up crowd funding website, Jumpoff.co. It works that well.

If you found this article useful, why not share it with someone who might benefit? And, please share your crowd sourcing stories below!

Last updated: Feb 14, 2013

PETER GASCA | Co-founder of WildCreations.com

Peter Gasca is the co-founder of Wild Creations, an Inc 5000 company that focuses on kid-related products and supports kid entrepreneurs. He is also a small-business consultant, youth entrepreneur mentor, and business adjunct lecturer.




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