Just a few years ago, however, we started to see signs that social media actually offered value—facilitating new ways of communicating and collaborating in real-time. Large companies, among them General Mills, were using wikis, blogs, even Facebook.Now the social media tsunami has swept through sales, marketing, and customer service departments, with specific communities formed to facilitate outreach or gather feedback. In parallel, new forms of product innovation emerged in the form of crowdsourcing. IBM’s InnovationJam, Dell’s IdeaStorm, and Starbucks’ My Starbucks Idea are all great examples of how companies can tap into the collective intelligence of their customers.
A truly transformational opportunity involves using social media to reconstitute the way we build and distribute products.One car maker,called Local Motors, has done just that. Using crowdsourcing and micro-factories,Local Motors lets its customers vote on product designs proposed in the development community. Concepts with the most votes are further developed through online collaboration with peers and the Local Motors team to choose the car’s body, engine,shocks,etc.Once the car is fully designed,the customer can buy it and build it.Local Motors opens a micro-factory in your area where you and the Local Motors team assemble your custom car over two three-day weekends.
Founded in 2010, the industry website, Crowdsourcing.org, is a neutral organization dedicated solely
to crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. As one of the most influential and credible authorities in the crowdsourcing space,
Crowdsourcing.org is recognized worldwide for its intellectual capital, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding
practice expertise and unbiased thought leadership.