By Matt Sevenoaks, Global Crowdsourcing Lead at KPMG
Leading how KPMG uses crowdsourcing initiatives globally, I have had the opportunity to experience remarkable examples of how online communities consisting of hundreds or thousands of stakeholders, can provide valuable insight to inform the direction of strategic projects.
But “crowdsourcing” has many applications. You can crowdsource for insight, ideas, marketing content, equity, funding… The list goes on. Below are some examples of what we’ve been doing at KPMG recently, as we explore the many opportunities that crowdsourcing now offers organizations willing to tap into their own crowds or those outside their own walls.
Crowdsourcing for Insight:
Customer insight (Telecommunications sector)
In March 2014 KPMG created an online community consisting of 1,500 KPMG UK and KPMG India staff to explore over a 6-week period their attitudes and behaviours when using smartphone and tablet technology at work, at home and on the go. The client, a major telecommunication company, wanted to accelerate and explore the development of their consumerisation strategy. The results showed marked differences between what the key buyers in an organisation might think their enterprise employees need versus what their employees actually say they need. This project acted as a pilot, so they could explore the power of crowdsourcing for insight. They are currently exploring how they can expand their use of crowdsourcing across more customer groups in more markets.
Market insight (Healthcare sector)
In February 2014 KPMG Global Healthcare launched an 8-week “What Works” online community with hundreds of external healthcare participants. 51 countries participated. The outputs of this program will be incorporated into various Global Healthcare “What Works” thought leadership publications through 2014 and were referenced at the Global Healthcare conference in June 2014.
Employee insight (Financial Services sector)
In November 2013 our People and Change consulting team ran a 6-week crowdsourcing program inviting a crowd of a major bank’s 400 finance staff to explore the effectiveness of a recently implemented finance transformation project.
Crowdsourcing for Innovation:
KPMG has run multiple innovation contests using crowdsourcing platforms across the world. Each often involves asking the KPMG crowd to think of ideas or enrich the ideas submitted by other colleagues for new service lines we can offer to our global client base. Such competitions foster a culture of creativity across the global firm whilst enabling participants to knowledge share, network across geographies and have a positive impact on the business’ future success.
Why use crowdsourcing:
The business benefits of crowdsourcing are only just now being explored by organisations, but below are some of the key benefits associated with crowdsourcing for insight from customers, employees and the general public:
Speed – Once the crowdsourcing platform is launched studies can be deployed and completed quickly, with participant contributions instantly available for review.
Cost – Save both time and cost, as moderators and participants do not need to travel to far-flung business unit/offices – as with focus groups.
Broad reach – Diverse and wide-ranging participant communities assembled for a single programme easily and without incurring expensive travel costs.
Foster engagement – Hard-to-recruit or low-incidence groups can be invited to participate via e-mail/social media channels and contribute at a time that suits them.
Transparency – Participants can be more comfortable discussing sensitive topics and sharing unpopular opinions than in a traditional face-to-face setting.
Real time data – View sessions in real time and interaction betweeen moderators and participants.
More broadly speaking crowdsourcing provides the ability for users to get things done in less time, for less cost and ideally obtain higher quality outputs.
What’s Next for Crowdsourcing?
The world is still very much in the early stages of exploring crowdsourcing in all its forms. Methodologies are still being developed and refined for each type. The coming years will see companies emerge who become known for expertise in specific types of crowdsourcing. For example, KickStarter is now synonymous with “crowdfunding” since it has established itself as a global platform that can effectively enable a user to raise finance from a crowd in less time and for less cost than would have been possible before the internet existed and enabled such crowdsourcing activity. Those that do emerge successfully will be the ones that can provide platforms that easily recruit and engage crowds to generate valuable outputs.