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Screening & Incentivizing for Crowdsourcing Ideation? “No” & “No”!


By Kevin Lonnie, CEO of KL Communications

“The most imaginative influences often come from the most unlikely sources.”

The above is a quote from a recent TED Conference on nurturing the creative process.

This theorem appears to be in conflict with screening tactics to preselect a potential Crowdsourcing panel.  Pre-testing makes sense if you’re looking to vet Jeopardy contestants, but are we being presumptuous on who is capable of creative input?

I’m focusing specifically on MR applications for Crowdsourcing.  My interest is in bringing the power of the crowd to idea generation and more specifically, insights that can be monetized for a demonstrative ROI.   That is why I prefer the idea of an open casting call, with availability to anyone with a passion for the category.

If we accept that all of us are capable of occasional flashes of brilliance, then what is to be gained by adding some artificially derived litmus test to our invitation?

And while we’re at it, let’s take our rules of engagement one step further.  Rather than paying someone to join our “Verified Creative for Crowdsourcing Your Next Idea” panel, how about charging admission to our panel?

Let’s assign an agreed upon prize to the winner and perhaps some secondary prizes to the most helpful contributors, but charge everyone a token amount to join our challenge.  This would weed out any and all mercenaries (Can you see a typical professional respondent spitting out his coffee when he reads we want to charge him for joining!)

All money collected from the crowd would be assigned to our winners, along with any guaranteed money.  In this way, we can gain viral buzz (Did you hear about this cool contest?  The winner’s share is now up to $$$!).  As word spreads organically, we will attract more and more participants all interested in gaining their share of our progressive payout.

In summary then, I would argue for:

1. An open casting call for every Crowdsourcing challenge

  • No supposition of talent, nor reliance on a pre-selected “Creatives” Panel

2. A token entry fee for participation (e.g. $2.99, about the same cost as a mobile app)

3. Effective & widespread promotion of our Crowdsourced challenge

  • Viral buzz is critical for the challenge to take on a life of its own.  As the saying goes, “Nothing attracts a crowd, like a crowd.”

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