on November 06, 2014 Innovating with Design Thinking

Crowdsourcing Stories from Your Consumers

In June of 2006, Wired magazine published an article entitled, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing,” which coined a new term for how large corporations (and startups) could gain access to a broad and inexpensive labor market.

Unlike the negative association that outsourcing conjures, when “crowdsourcing” first appeared it was neither good nor bad. It was just an interesting by-product of the exponential rise of accessible on-demand jobs and side projects for a massive part of the country.

Today, crowdsourcing has inspired a growing form of collaborative research and co-creation by companies looking for breakthroughs. It transforms consumers into producers, enabling them with research tools and asking them to offer their insights through firsthand data collection.

Empowering Consumers to Share through Missions

In the age of feature-rich smartphones, these devices have transformed our world into a mobile workplace, even for consumers.

In 2008, a progressive design agency called Crush Republic, started experimenting with this approach. Their teams would work with brands to understand key business questions to solve. Rather than getting consumers into a focus group room to try and solve these, Crush's research team wanted to engage them inside of their actual environments. Essentially, they wanted to go where the insights were actually happening.

To pull this off, Crush Republic would send consumers a Mission Kit, listing out specific assignments (or missions), instructions for collecting and examples of what they should share back with their team. For a week, consumers would share videos, pictures and diaries to the team. All from their smartphones. This approach was extremely compelling for many reasons:

• The mission gamified research assignments
• Consumers could complete on their terms and in their own words
• Insights were authentic (everyone could see the actual objects, environments in question)
• Consumers could be located anywhere in the world

Missions as a Feature in Batterii

Batterii's product team studied how the teams at Crush Republic engaged consumers, transforming these requirements into key feature of its platform. Today, all rooms in Batterii are equipped with Missions, enabling any Batterii user with the ability to source insights from consumers.

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Setting Up Consumers for Success

Sometimes it can be difficult for a consumer to clearly communicate the intricacies of their daily routine. It’s important that project teams clearly share the objectives and define the expectations of their project.

Using Batterii, consumers now have a clear means of both collecting and sharing the information they are gathering. Once this information has been gathered, it can be tagged by the users and the further sorted by project teams.

Sourcing Real, Authentic Stories

The content that results from consumers cataloging their own experiences can lead to a deeper understanding and breakthrough stories or insights.

In a TED talk from March of 2011, Journalist Paul Lewis describes what he calls, “citizen journalism” or “collaborative journalism.” He goes on to describe two instances of a type of crowdsourced journalism, in which witnesses of two controversial deaths were found after the fact and used to create an alternative narrative of the day’s tragic events. In both instances, witnesses were found using Tweets asking for people to come forward. Lewis knew precisely which group he needed to target and armed them with their own “mission kit”-- the call to provide both verbal testimony and visual clues of what happened. In both cases, deaths that would have been attributed to innocuous causes were found to have been the result of police violence.

While an extreme example, Lewis’ story clearly shows the benefits of crowdsourcing data collection. By opening the storytelling process to larger groups of people, we can let consumers write the story.

Getting Started

Our smartphones have become rich-media communication tools that enable everyday people to look a little bit more closely at the world. Using the Batterii mobile app, we are empowering a new level of access and engagement with consumers. We believe that it's the key to help every team source better insights and create better experiences.

To learn more, or take a test drive, signup for a free trial of Batterii by clicking here.

Chad Reynolds

Chad Reynolds is the Founder of Batterii, a collaboration platform designed to help teams create better experiences. Over the past 15 years, Chad has worked with brands like Adidas, GE Healthcare, Nike and Procter & Gamble to re-imagine their brand experiences for the next generation of consumers.