What is the wisdom of the crowd?
Wisdom of the crowd is the idea that a large group of people can collectively make better decisions than any individual or expert. This concept has been applied to many fields, such as politics, economics, science, and innovation.
Innovation is the process of creating new and valuable solutions to problems or needs. It is essential for any organization that wants to survive and thrive in a competitive and changing world. However, innovation is not easy. It requires creativity, collaboration, experimentation, and feedback.
That’s where the wisdom of the crowd comes in. By tapping into the collective intelligence and diversity of a large group of people, an organization can generate more ideas, test more assumptions, and validate more solutions than relying on a few experts or managers.
A crowd has the collective wisdom of individual ignorance
The quote “A crowd has the collective wisdom of individual ignorance” means that when many people act together, they do not become smarter or wiser, but rather they reflect the lack of knowledge or understanding of each person. This quote suggests that crowds are not rational or reasonable, but easily influenced by emotions, biases, or prejudices. It also implies that individuals should think for themselves and not blindly follow the masses.
How to Use the Wisdom of the Crowd for Innovation
Innovation is the lifeblood of any company that wants to stay ahead of the competition and create value for its customers. But how can you generate innovative ideas that are both novel and feasible? One possible answer is to tap into the wisdom of the crowd.
The wisdom of the crowd is a theory that assumes that the knowledge of a crowd results in better decision-making, innovation, and problem-solving than an individual’s. A crowd needs to be large, and diverse, and individuals within the crowd cannot be influenced by others for the theory to work.
The idea behind this theory is that a crowd can pool different perspectives, experiences, and information, leading to more creative and accurate solutions. Moreover, a crowd can eliminate individual biases and errors that might otherwise skew the results.
But how can you use the wisdom of the crowd for innovation in your company? Here are some tips and examples to help you leverage this powerful resource.
EXAMPLE 1: Idea generation and wisdom of the crowd
One of the most fascinating examples of the wisdom of the crowd in idea generation is the phenomenon of open innovation. Open innovation is an organization inviting external actors, such as customers, suppliers, researchers, or even competitors, to contribute their ideas and solutions to specific problems or challenges. By tapping into the collective intelligence and creativity of a diverse and large crowd, organizations can benefit from a wider range of perspectives, insights, and expertise and reduce the costs and risks of innovation. Open innovation can lead to breakthroughs that would not be possible with a closed and centralized approach. Some of the most successful examples of open innovation include Linux, Wikipedia, and Lego Ideas.
EXAMPLE 2: Decision-making and wisdom of the crowd
One of the most fascinating examples of using the crowd’s wisdom for better decision-making is the case of Francis Galton and the ox. In 1906, Galton attended a country fair where people were invited to guess the weight of a live ox. He collected the guesses of 787 people and analyzed them statistically. He found that the average guess was 1,197 pounds, which was remarkably close to the actual weight of 1,198 pounds. This showed that the collective judgment of a diverse and independent group of people can be more accurate than the individual opinions of experts. Galton’s experiment inspired many other applications of the crowd’s wisdom, such as prediction markets, online surveys, and crowdsourcing platforms. These methods can help us tap into the collective intelligence of large groups of people and make better decisions in various domains, such as politics, business, science, and entertainment.
Tips for Using the Wisdom of the Crowd for Innovation
- Define your problem or challenge clearly and communicate it to your crowd. Make sure you specify what kind of ideas you are looking for, what criteria you will use to evaluate them, and what rewards or incentives you will offer for participation.
- Choose your crowd wisely. Depending on your goal, you might want to involve your employees, customers, partners, or even the general public. Make sure your crowd is large enough to represent a variety of opinions and backgrounds but not so large that it becomes unmanageable or noisy.
- Provide a platform or tool for your crowd to submit, share, and discuss their ideas. You can use online platforms such as Accept Mission, which is a gamified innovation platform that helps you generate and select ideas from your crowd in a fun and engaging way.
- Encourage diversity and collaboration among your crowd members. You want to avoid groupthink and echo chambers that might limit the quality and variety of ideas. You can do this by allowing anonymous submissions, providing feedback and ratings, and enabling cross-fertilization of ideas.
- Analyze and synthesize the ideas from your crowd. You can use statistical methods, algorithms, or expert judgments to aggregate and filter the ideas based on their relevance, novelty, and feasibility. You can also use visualizations or dashboards to identify patterns, trends, and outliers.
- Implement and test the best ideas from your crowd. You can use prototyping, experimentation, or piloting to validate and refine the ideas before scaling them up. You can also involve your crowd in the implementation process by asking for their feedback, suggestions, or support.
Examples of Using the Wisdom of the Crowd for Innovation
Many companies have successfully used the wisdom of the crowd for innovation in different domains and contexts. Here are some examples:
- Netflix: The online streaming service launched a contest in 2006 to improve its recommendation algorithm by 10%. It offered a prize of $1 million to anyone who could achieve this goal. The contest attracted over 40,000 participants from 186 countries who submitted over 44,000 solutions. The winning solution was a combination of several individual solutions that improved the algorithm by 10.06%.
- Lego: The toy company created Lego Ideas, an online platform where fans can submit their own designs for new Lego sets. Other fans can vote for their favorite designs, and if a design reaches 10,000 votes, it is reviewed by Lego experts for potential production. Some of the successful products that emerged from this platform include Lego Minecraft, Lego Ghostbusters, and Lego Women of NASA.
- NASA: The space agency has used crowdsourcing platforms such as InnoCentive and Topcoder to solve some of its technical challenges. For example, it used InnoCentive to find a solution for predicting solar flares, which could damage satellites and spacecraft. It received over 400 submissions from around the world, and awarded $30,000 to a retired radio frequency engineer who came up with an accurate algorithm.
The wisdom of the crowd is a valuable source of innovation that can help you generate more and better ideas than you could on your own. By following some simple tips and using some proven tools, you can harness this resource for your company’s benefit.
If you want to learn more about how Accept Mission can help you use the wisdom of the crowd for innovation in a fun and effective way, visit our website or contact us today.
Accept Mission and wisdom of the crowd
Accept Mission helps organizations leverage the wisdom of the crowd for innovation by providing them with a platform that is easy to use, fun to play, effective to solve problems, and delivering real business value. By using Accept Mission, organizations can generate more ideas, test more assumptions, validate solutions, and make better decisions more than ever before.
Accept Mission uses gamification elements, such as points, badges, leaderboards, and undercover missions, to motivate and reward users for their participation and contribution. Gamification also creates a sense of competition and collaboration among users, stimulating their creativity and innovation. Try it out yourself with a trial or book a demo. Enjoy