What industries can benefit most from crowdsourced ideas?

A headshot of Judy Garvey

by Judy Garvey

A cartoon illustration of a train pulling an iPad, an airplane, and different sized containers.

When you hear the phrase, "teamwork makes the dream work," you probably think about a sports team or a group of co-workers.

But collaboration can extend far beyond the traditional boundaries. Crowdsourcing is a popular strategy for companies to come up with better products and efficient solutions.

Crowdsourced ideas and actions are very valuable for some key industries. Read on to find out which types of companies have the most to benefit from a crowdsourcing model.

Related Read: The benefits and limitations of crowdsourcing

Marketing and Public Relations

Marketing and public relations firms can gain some incredible benefits from crowdsourcing.

These fields focus on how to influence people's decision-making and opinions. Because different groups of people think and act in different ways, marketing tactics need to be specialized and targeted.

To find the most effective methods, marketing teams must research their target audience. Crowdsourcing is present in many research techniques, like surveys and focus groups. By gathering consumer insights, marketing agencies can better tailor their message and programming.

Crowdsourcing is also essential to the content that marketing and PR teams publish. Any time somebody tweets about a brand or posts a picture of a product on Instagram, marketing teams can leverage and redistribute that post.

Crowdsourced content like this provides many benefits. Sharing somebody's post is a way of thanking a loyal customer for support, helping to strengthen your relationship with them. It also lets you post content that you didn't need to create yourself.

Crowdsourced testimonials and reviews are especially valuable. Online reviews and other forms of advocacy are highly influential to opinions. Since crowdsourced material comes from a third party, it's seen as trustworthy.


Perhaps no other type of product changes more than software.

Software companies are always tweaking their programs and applications. They frequently push out updates to fix bugs, improve performance, and enhance security.

Many of these improvements would be impossible without crowdsourcing.

Have you ever had a program crash and gotten a pop-up asking you to report an error? Crowdsourcing features like this help notify development teams of new problems. This helps them get to work on a solution as fast as possible.

Many programs go all-in on crowdsourcing and follow an open source model, meaning the source code is available to the public. The community is free to collaborate to patch glitches and create new plugins on their own. Anyone with a bit of coding knowledge can contribute to the product.

Don't Miss: 7 tips for crowdsourcing designs for new products

Food and Beverage

Crowdsourcing is a valuable asset to the food and beverage industry.

Some food manufacturers crowdsource for ideas and let the public choose from some of the top submissions. Lay's did this through their Do Us a Flavor contest to choose a new flavor of potato chip. By taking both idea submissions and holding a voting contest, Lay's ensured they'd create a product people wanted to see.

On the restaurant side, customer feedback is often used to tweak and improve recipes. Limited-time offerings can earn a spot on the permanent menu with enough feedback.

Fashion and Beauty

Fashion trends are notorious for changing in an instant.

For beauty and clothing companies, crowdsourcing is a great way to keep up with the times. Through crowdsourcing, these companies can follow trends better or even start trends themselves.

The next time you see a new style of dress or unique color of lipstick in a department store, it could have crowdsourced origins.

Check out more innovation and crowdsourcing content here.

Toys and Collectables

The recent bankruptcy of Toys 'R' Us illustrates how volatile the toy industry has become. Toys are facing more competition than ever, as tablets and smartphones capture the attention of younger and younger audiences.

Crowdsourcing lets toy manufacturers know what type of toys will actually sell well and be played with.

One example of this is the very successful LEGO Ideas platform. This crowdsourcing model allows designers from around the world to submit ideas for new official LEGO sets.

Crowdsourcing success can be seen in other toys as well, such as in letting fans choose the career of the next Barbie doll.

Vehicles and Travel

For companies that deal with travel, comfort is a main focus. That's when idea crowdsourcing can be a game-changer.

With new cars hitting the line every year, manufacturers rely on crowdsourcing to generate ideas for new improvements. Features like hands-free calling and other technology integration arose out of the desires of the consumers.

Airlines and other travel services want to make their customers happy as well. American Airlines renovated their loyalty program following a crowdsourcing campaign.

Sports Teams

More than most other types of organizations, sports teams need to have a strong connection with their fans.

To the chagrin of many fans, crowdsourcing ideas for player signings and when to fire coaches usually isn't smart. However, there are plenty of other opportunities for sports teams to get crowdsourced ideas.

The Tampa Bay Rays want to build a new baseball stadium. During the design phase of the project, the Rays started a website to gather ideas and opinions on what features the new stadium should include and where it should be located.

Other teams have turned to crowdsourcing for things like uniform and logo design. This is especially common in the minor leagues. The Kalamazoo Wings, a minor league hockey team, recently held their second-annual uniform design contest.

More On This Topic: Top crowdsourcing trends shaping the future of innovation

Any Fast Moving Consumer Goods

The industries listed above are some specific examples. But in truth, any product or service company can benefit from crowdsourced ideas.

Ultimately, running a successful business hinges upon one core issue: satisfying a need.

Any transaction derives from a need. A consumer needs help to complete a task that would be difficult or impossible to without a specialized product. The companies that best meet the needs of a consumer will earn their business.

Crowdsourcing is a great way to create new products that people actually want and need. For tips on how to run a successful crowd innovation Challenge, this article from the blog has several practical tips for getting started.

Take Advantage of Crowdsourced Ideas

For organizations in search of more success, turning to a crowdsourcing model might be a great option. With more people working together, your products and services can improve dramatically.

Want to start leveraging crowdsourced ideas? Be sure to check out our participation platform software, one of the industry's leading tools for crowdsourcing.

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