How Technology Companies Can Use Crowdsourcing To Identify New Product Ideas

Written by James Dixon

James Dixon is the CTO of Pentaho, a leading data integration and business analytics company.

JAN 21, 2016

There are many examples of crowdsourced ideas in business, including adverts like the Doritos Super Bowl ads; recipes, such as Lays “Do Us a Flavor competition;” art like the re-design of the New Zealand flag; talent scouting like American Idol does; and many more. In the movie world, independent film producers regularly use script competitions to find new and interesting scripts to make into films. “A screenplay competition generates a range of ideas from a diverse set of international applicants that cannot be matched by an in-house writing and development team,” says Matthew Helderman, CEO of Buffalo 8 Productions and BondIt in Beverly Hills.

The same principle can work for technology companies. At my company Pentaho, we get ideas for new features from people using our software in many different ways all over the world.

Why It Works

The benefits of these competitions and open submissions are that people enjoy participating, creating and competing with each other. As well, your community of users are enabled to participate, which helps increase customer engagement. You’ll also then have a wide variety of options to choose from, and can quickly collect a large number of ideas.

Your marketing team also gets to run with the program and stir up interest over social media. This means there’s no need for focus groups and committees, and your customers are aware of your new product before it hits the market.