The FLIRT model of crowdsourcing – an analytical approach

I write from time to time here about mass collaboration – and it is something I have been thinking about more recently as I read Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody. In a nutshell I’m excited about this space because the way the internet lowers the cost and barriers to collaboration has the potential to unleash all manner of new group activities.

Crowdsourcing, and more specifically social shopping is one such activity, and one that I see as the natural next evolution for the tired comparison shopping space.

So when I came across the Sami Viitamaki’s FLIRT model of crowdsourcing I had to share it.

(Thanks to Taneli Tika for the pointer – for those that don’t know Taneli is one of Finland’s most talented web entrepreneurs and has been involved with a host of great web businesses including Dopplr and Sulake.)

The FLIRT model does two things:

  1. it describes the roles of different players in a crowdsourcing ecosystem – taking the analysis beyond the usual 1% create, 9% contribute, 90% consume – see the diagram above
  2. it also offers guidance on strategy for crowdsourcing companies

The guidance on strategy comes from the five elements that constitute FLIRT:

If you are an entrepreneur or investor in this area you really should read the original introductory post and the detail behind the five links above.

To whet your appetite (and finish) I will give a taster of what you will find.

From the discussion of focus:

Crowdsourcing efforts at present can be extended to various fieldsof doing business, including, but not limited to (some example companies in parentheses):

  • innovation (innocentive)
  • new product development, product design (threadless)
  • existing product feature enhancement (P&G’s vocalpoint)
  • production
  • evaluation of ideas, products, services, features, content, etc. (sellaband)
  • marketing
  • distribution (Fon)
  • customer support (many tech companies)

Clearly, crowdsourcing is not ideal for every field of business (Considering crowdsourcing your accounting? Think again.) and suitability varies across organizations. However, with developing
channels and tools, their innovative applications and resulting business models, the possibilities grow more diverse each day.

And from the discussion on incentives:

What’s in it for me? That’s a question everybody makes – implicitly or explicitly – when faced with a proposal to co-operate and co-create. Quite naturally, monetary incentives are widely used in crowdsourcing efforts (a few cents per HIT at amazon’s mturk; $2000 in cash and benefits for each design taken into production at threadless; up to $1,000,000 for a winning solution at innocentive) and are usually required, if only for justifying the intellectual property transfers that take place between the company and the customer. However, there is a plethora of other, often implicit incentives that many times have even more influence on the participation rates and intensity of community members. It is important ot note that people, at least in the developed world, do not participate in crowdsourcing efforts to support their living, but instead for e.g. fun, recreation and intellectual or creative challenge.

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  • Alex Craxton

    Hi Nick, you should go to a Creative Coffee Club morning in London sometime and catch up with those folks, some of them were involved in the Million Penguins collaborative wiki novel and they have some great stories to tell.

    Cheers, Alex

  • Alex Craxton

    Hi Nick, you should go to a Creative Coffee Club morning in London sometime and catch up with those folks, some of them were involved in the Million Penguins collaborative wiki novel and they have some great stories to tell.

    Cheers, Alex

  • nic

    Thanks Alex. I will check it out.

  • nic

    Thanks Alex. I will check it out.

  • John Kellman

    What about ArtistShare? (www.artistshare.com) They have been financing recordings through the artist fan base for years now.

  • John Kellman

    What about ArtistShare? (www.artistshare.com) They have been financing recordings through the artist fan base for years now.

  • Hi Nic,

    Thanks for a great post. Sami’s analysis of the incentives that drive folks to participate in crowdsourcing is right on point. We find that our Solver network is motivated by much more than the monetary rewards of winning a Challenge. They have also told us they are motivated by the competition with other Solvers, recognition in the community, as well as the desire to work on a challenge or problem that matters, or will make a difference in the world.
    You might find the Solver Profiles on our blog interesting, we’ve had a variety of responses from Solvers already in the few weeks since we’ve launched our blog, telling us why they got involved in the first place and what it means to them.

    http://blog.innocentive.com

    If you’d ever be interested in learning more about the InnoCentive model, I’m always available to speak with you. Feel free to drop me an email.

    Regards
    Liz Moise
    Marketing Manager
    InnoCentive

  • Hi Nic,

    Thanks for a great post. Sami’s analysis of the incentives that drive folks to participate in crowdsourcing is right on point. We find that our Solver network is motivated by much more than the monetary rewards of winning a Challenge. They have also told us they are motivated by the competition with other Solvers, recognition in the community, as well as the desire to work on a challenge or problem that matters, or will make a difference in the world.
    You might find the Solver Profiles on our blog interesting, we’ve had a variety of responses from Solvers already in the few weeks since we’ve launched our blog, telling us why they got involved in the first place and what it means to them.

    http://blog.innocentive.com

    If you’d ever be interested in learning more about the InnoCentive model, I’m always available to speak with you. Feel free to drop me an email.

    Regards
    Liz Moise
    Marketing Manager
    InnoCentive

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