Back to Basics with Crowdcasting

An army of hardworking strategists are far better than a gang of resources waiting for their next pay check.
Have you ever heard of crowdcasting before? Simply put, it is utilizing a crowd, broadcast to them your business’ needs and problems, then allows them to compete with each other to come up with strategic solutions for the company.

Business 2.0 reports that American Express, General Electric Money, Mars, and Whirlpool put aside their high-priced resources and relied on 3,000 MBA students to solve their problems. Crowdcasting has also helped DaimlerChrysler connect with baby boomers and Hilton was given different ways they can grow using partnerships.
It this a great idea?
Definitely. The company doesn’t have anything to lose by utilizing ton loads of MBA students. Spending lose change of a few thousands of dollars would make them compete aggressively against each other in the hope of getting a broader and better solution.
Sometimes in businesses, high level management tend to forget the basics of strategies and tend to employ complex and difficult maneuvers that lead them nowhere but bankruptcy. I remember what Tim Cone, Alaska coach (local basketball league), usually tell his teammates during timeouts — Back to basics, back to basics.
There are a lot of smart people out there who may have not been given the chance to rise to the top of the corporate ladder because they lack politicking or power plays within the organization and not brains. MBA students are a good pool of prospects that are well versed with the 101s of the businesses void of dirty and tactical solutions.
It this a bad idea?
Yes. The high-priced resources are forced to work harder than ever considering they are single entities asking for the universe.
That doesn’t sound a bad idea after all.
The potential of crowdcasting is huge and well planned out processes, proper execution and usage of technologies could help crowdcasting reach its potential.
In an excerpt of the story found here.

The students were competing to come up with products and services by tackling the companies’ real-world problems. Megacorporations are embracing such contests – the buzzword is “crowdcasting” – to keep their competitive edge by mind-melding with the next generation of business leaders.
“We’re looking for that deep insight that swings a business,” says Stephen Liguori, an executive with GE Money, the financial services arm of GE (Charts). “This is a chance to tap into not just the best and brightest business minds in America but also the thought leaders and early adopters that are going to be our best customers down the road.”
Making innovation open-source
Increasing segments of corporate America are going open-source for fundamental strategies – and that’s creating a bustling business for companies like Idea Crossing, the Los Angeles startup that runs the Innovation Challenge.
Turning to outsiders to court customers
The payoff from crowdcasting is the chance to break open a closed-circuit corporate culture and profit from the fresh insights of a large group of well-educated outsiders.
Unlike “crowdsourcing,” the meme of the moment that refers to tapping consumers for ideas, crowdcasting broadcasts a company’s problem to a specific – and carefully chosen – group. Think of crowdsourcing as a giant creative rave, and crowdcasting as a private backstage party you can’t get into if you’re not on the list. In Idea Crossing’s Innovation Challenge, contestants sign confidentiality agreements, and their strategic solutions become the property of the corporate sponsors.
At the 2004 Innovation Challenge, Sprint executives asked participants to devise new services featuring high-speed wireless technologies; last year IBM searched for ways to market itself to businesses in China and India – countries that send large contingents of MBA students to the event.
How the Innovation Challenge works
Executives are tight-lipped, naturally, about the intellectual property they pick up at the competitions. But Hilton vice president for brand marketing Kirk Thompson says his company’s participation in last year’s Innovation Challenge resulted in a number of creative proposals to foster a stronger service culture among employees.
“It gave us the important insight that, in order to market a service culture from the inside out, we need to bring a human connection to it with a face and personality,” he says.
Bottom line: Hilton scored enough good ideas – including one about allowing hotel guests to customize their rooms – to make it worthwhile to return for this year’s challenge. The international hotel chain now is on the hunt for fresh concepts to reignite its brand among global-minded young business leaders (the demographic represented by challenge contestants, of course).
For its part, GE Money – which manages credit cards for Gap (Charts), Lowe’s, and Wal-Mart (Charts) – wants to exploit the insights of young hotshot MBAs “to help us get up and running as a brand name,” Liguori says. “How do we grab consumer attention?”

[tags]Crowdcasting, Business[/tags]

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