Crowdsourcing Across the Digital Divide

Crowdsourcing Across the Digital DivideWhat are some other ways to engage a larger crowd?

There is a very simple model for increasing engagement that everybody leans on: increase the size of the crowd, increase the amount of engagement. Essentially, the more people one invites to an open innovation community, the more innovation is seemingly possible. And this belief, as a general rule, is true.

Let me be clear: this is not the only way that a crowdsourcing community can improve engagement and it also doesn’t always pan out. But crowdsourcing certainly isn’t going to work without a crowd, which is why it is important to lower as many barriers to participation as possible.

How do we make the innovation process more inclusive?

Here are some important ways to make sure that a crowdsourcing community is inclusive:

Mobile Optimized

With so many different devices, it is more important than ever that a crowdsourcing engine be able to scale and display properly on every screen, regardless of the device. I believe that more and more developers will prioritize mobile optimization for crowdsourcing communities.

Section 508

Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. Crowdsourcing inclusively means that crowdsourcing solutions welcome differently-abled members of each community

Onsite Public Display

Not everyone prefers to engage in discussion and innovation ideation online; some people still like to visit an office or speak to an actual person and although the impulse is understandable, sometimes those folks risk getting lost in the human shuffle. When an innovation community has a public site, it is often a good idea to get people to engage with the online community at a shared public display. In one study, 25% of brick and mortar site visitors  ended up contributing to the online conversation this way. And, if you’re interested in learning more about onsite public display and how it improves engagement, download the case study here.

What are some other ways to engage a larger crowd? In what ways can we make the innovation process even more inclusive?

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Jessica Day




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No Comments

  1. JMI on March 10, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Really interesting Jessica, thanks​!​

    I think that you would be really interested in some of the most cutting-edge research that I have come across explaining crowds, open innovation, and citizen science.​

    And you may also enjoy this blog about the same too:

    Powerful stuff, no?

  2. Doug Williams on March 12, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Interesting perspectives, Jessica. Not unlike how companies conducting telephone surveys that only targeted landlines had to adjust to citizens who were cutting the cord. The digital divide creates a similar division, and those who are online are not the only ones with great ideas!

    That principle applies to a company’s workforce as well. Employees who don’t sit behind a screen all day are still valuable and may have important ideas about product or process innovation. These individuals should be given resources in or near the workplace (in the breakroom, in an unused corner of a warehouse) to allow them to participate and contribute and be a part of the crowd.

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