blur Group started building its crowds back in 2007. In fact, the idea of sourcing projects to many had entered our conscious before Jeff Howe’s famous article in Wired brought Crowdsourcing into the public psyche.But although we loved the idea that many heads would inevitably be better than one there were some aspects about ‘Crowd’ that made us realize in its rawest form, it may not be quite right for every business.
We knew that business would be tantalized, but might be a little reluctant to open up their critical projects to a potentially unruly, and unruled mass.
We decided to break the crowds into specialized communities.
Split by areas of expertise and knowledge. This organization of crowds was the first part of our plan to offer businesses not access to open crowds, but to curated, expert crowds.
Taking it a step further, we also realized that expert, rather like legend, is open to interpretation and abuse. So in building our crowds, we made sure they had to provide evidence of skills, experience and expertise. Without it, they couldn’t be part of the network. Each and every one is approved, portfolios checked out, credentials verified.
Now that might suggest that there are fewer heads available for those ideas brainstorming, but our approach was that ideas are just part of project: delivery, execution and quality are the less eye-catching to the commentators, but more crucial to the business.
It’s why some of those well-publicized crowdsourced projects are rewarded with a prize to the ‘idea’ generator, but the real project is delivered through traditional suppliers. Big brands will happily have Katy in Kansas choosing a new candy flavor, but would rather the advertising of the product was left with the big boys.
In fact for many businesses, crowdsourcing has simply become a means to elicit customer feedback, a social-led method of market research.
That’s not the case with Expertsourcing at blur Group. Our crowds aren’t just a collection of experts, of specialists – they’re managed, curated communities within an enterprise class b2b exchange. It means that a business discovers professional, experienced talent, knowledge and expertise. It’s as if we’ve done all the research that typifies the start of a procurement process.
Oh that’s right. We have. To date we’ve spent over 130,000 man hours developing these communities. Something that would represent rather a significant cost to your business if you wanted to try to find the same resources. We understand their skills and experience, working with them each day: experience that amounts to 150,000 years between them.
Business discovers those who deliver from the most creative project inception to final product. It means you could have the creative talent behind the world’s biggest brands working on your campaign, but working with you directly and at a fraction of the cost. Or you could find the App developer who’s the latest whizz at making your product go mobile but you’d never encounter through traditional sourcing routes. Whether it’s the talented independent who’s left the big agency behind, or the IT Services company that’s carved a niche in Sharepoint development. Whether they’re in Cambridge or Calcutta. Our experts deliver. Because they’re experts.
Fast forward to today and you can see that there are now eight expert crowds. The launch of the Global Services Exchange to include both the Creative Services exchanges and the Business services exchanges, means our experts are growing and our Expertsourcing model is even more vital to businesses wanting to change they way they buy services, the way they source the projects that make their business perform.
And for those suppliers who want the connections, that the social technologies used by the Exchange provide.
It’s about making connections, that may otherwise never have happened. But those connections will always be business to expert to business.
It’s why now the Global Services Exchange receives thousands of dollars of project briefs every working day. Why our projects offer significant new business to our experts. Why we, as exchange principle, can deliver value at all points to our customers.
Forrester in a report earlier this year talked about Expertsourcing as the next step for Innovation – tapping specialized professional-grade know-how and talent. For blur Group it’s not the next step. It’s been in progress for nearly five years and now means you have nearly 20,000 experts and growing.
They’re waiting for you.
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