Case Study in Creative Destruction

Don’t worry, this blog post has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen, who has his own brand of creative destruction. This is about crowdsourcing … and before I go any further, I promised a definition of just what “crowdsourcing” actually is:

Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.

That’s according to WIRED Magazine’s Jeff Howe, who is credited with coining the term crowdsourcing. And as a result of globalization, ubiquitous access to broadband and the lack of barriers to entry on the Internet, just about anyone on the planet can take part in this new model of work.

Here are just two recent examples, based on the work I am doing for my client in Florida: global positioning and fleet tracking service provider FleetBoss GPS.

Part of the project scope was a “refresh” of the company’s look, from the website to the corporate logo to the marketing collateral and stationery. Typically, this is the type of work that is farmed out to an agency as a turnkey project, or managed in-house by a marketing department. We tried something different: crowdsourcing.

Wanted: “Out of this world” fresh, new logo for a GPS tech firm.

First up: changing the logo. The old logo had been designed in 2004 and was getting a bit long in the tooth. Once the company management team became comfortable with the idea of a change, we created a design brief on the site99designs – a “design contest” site where artists provide their interpretations and the winner receives a pre-paid prize. Here is an excerpt from the design brief:

FleetBoss GPS is a company with over a decade of achievement in the GPS technology field, and GPS (e.g., satellite or other image) should be considered as a key component of the new logo. Where in the past, the full company name was in the logo (FleetBoss Global Positioning Solutions, Inc.) for the new logo the focus should be on “FleetBoss GPS.” Ideally, the blue and red colors from the original logo should be included in the new logo design, although other color schemes will be considered.

And here is the winning logo design, now in use on all of the FleetBoss GPS marketing materials:

Corporate website overhaul for technology B2B company

That was the headline that announced the next big crowdsourcing project. After exploring a more traditional approach for the website redesign, we took a look at what was available using an online service called oDesk. After writing up the general scope of work for the new website, I posted this opportunity on oDesk and within 24 hours had more than 40 bids for the project. We wanted to keep this work in the US, and selected a project manager based in Tampa and her team that was actually in Canada … they worked diligently for six weeks and the site launched on time, on budget and on spec.

These are just a couple of examples of how crowdsourcing is changing how we get things done. Right now, I am working on a business model that will create crowdsourcing opportunities for the U.S. based workforce. Stay tuned for more details …

Posted on April 16, 2012, in Crowdsourcing, New World of Work. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I’m interested to see how your crowdsourcing model turns out… As you mentioned, there are already plenty of opportunities for US workers to find work via crowdsourcing sites like Amazon Mechanical Turk and oDesk. I’d be fascinated to hear what separates your model from the pack, so to speak, and makes it attractive to be a part of.

    • Hi Seth,

      Thanks for your comment! The biggest difference here is that we are addressing this from a public policy perspective, helping displaced and marginally attached workers in the U.S. determine what their marketable skills are, and orient to a rapidly changing work environment where flexibility and hustle are key, project management and entrepreneurial skills are expected, and a “portfolio of projects” takes the place of a traditional job.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment, and please do keep tabs on this initiative because it might be coming to a workforce board near you …

      Best regards,
      Steve Urquhart

      • I see… so is your primary goal to reacquaint displaced workers with the modern business environment, or to provide them a new environment in which to flourish

      • Seth, something like that, yes. For many people who haven’t even dusted off their resume since 1995, this is a real shock to the system. The new world of work is not for the faint of heart. So, yes, and yes. Thanks!

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