The Power of Crowds 
‘s Huff Post article, from Crowdsourcing to Crowdstorming, introduces a new form of innovation inspired by crowds.

Established organizations like GE, P&G, DARPA and LEGO have been working with crowds to brainstorm, or “crowdstorm,” while startups like Quirky, Localmotors and Giffgaff have also been using crowdstorming to bring better products and services to market.

Crowdstorming is quickly evolving from simple searches for ideas to more complex interactions in which multiple specialized tasks are provided. Shawn, in his study of 

crowdstorming projects, has  identified three broad categories:

  • Search: including contests searching for the best ideas (such as the X PRIZE and DARPA Grand Challenges.)
  • Collaborative:  This is a collective filter through which people pitch ideas and must receive a minimum number of community votes before it will be reviewed by the company. ( One example is LEGO Cuusoo, where an idea must garner 10,000 votes by the Cuusoo community before it will be reviewed by the LEGO team. The community also offers feedback on possible refinements. 
  • Integrated.

Advantages of Crowdstorming


When ideas can’t easily be measured, companies tend to place their faith in “HIPPOS” (highest paid person’s opinion). However, crowdsourcing opens up new opportunities that HIPPOs can’t deliver – brainstorming doesn’t just source ideas, but helps evaluate and build on them as well.

More Insights: By replacing some of the traditional research and development organization with crowds, companies can obtain broader and more comprehensive feedback. Shaun references a 1-9-90 interaction pattern to illustrate:

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.

Broader Scope of Ideas: Forums run by companies like Quirky and Giffgaff offer new insights, not just in production of products and services, but everything from compensation to recruiting. Their crowds are not just helping to produce products and services.