From Crowdsourcing to Crowdstorming

Over the last decade, organizations like GE, P&G, DARPA and LEGO have pioneered a particular type of work with crowds. They work with crowds to brainstorm, or "crowdstorm." Crowdstorming patterns are evolving quickly from simple searches for ideas to more complex interactions where crowds take on multiple specialized tasks.

LEGO Cuusoo is good example of a collaborative crowdstorm. It is not so much a contest as a collective filter. As in the search pattern, people or teams pitch ideas. The Cuusoo community needs to give the idea 10,000 votes before it will be reviewed by the LEGO team. And the community also offers feedback on possible refinements to help submitters increase their chances of success. A similar feedback process helped GE understand the value of Ecomagination Challenge proposals, from which it ultimately found new investments opportunities and partners for its sustainable energy businesses.

When the crowd can offer feedback, you drastically increase the number of participants and interactions. It is common to see the 1-9-90 interaction pattern. For each participant submitting an idea, nine participants might offer feedback in the form of votes, ratings or comments, with the remaining 90 simply observing the interactions. At a minimum, the move from search to collaboration results in an order of magnitude increase in the number of participants and an explosion in interactions.

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