Adapting to “The Age of The Crowd”

November 11, 2010

Qualvu Qualitative Research CrowdsourcingThe many are smarter than the few. A collection of independently-deciding individuals is likely to make certain types of decisions and predictions better than individuals or even experts.  And, coincidentally, they are likely to take actions that can be of significant benefit to the companies who can harness them. This was the gist of James Surowiecki’s 2004 book, The Wisdom of the Crowds. And now companies are putting those theories into action with Crowd-sourcing.


Crowd-sourcing is when companies outsource tasks to a large group of individuals or community instead of professional contractors, and it has allowed hundreds of companies to achieve their business goals by leveraging new technologies, web 2.0 collaboration, and remote access capabilities. The trend was started by companies such as iStockphoto, which saw the potential and cost-saving in enlisting amateur photographers and hobbyists to submit photos that are as good or better (and cheaper) than photos from stock photo houses. Their success was quickly followed and enhanced by visionaries who created collaboration tools such as Wikipedia, Yammer, Evernote, and Google Docs that made it possible to share content and contribute globally.


As businesses acknowledge the “age of the crowd” has arrived, and that, by increasing collaboration, they gain richness in the perspective of their approach while reducing cost, they are starting to tap on hidden talent in the amateur community and utilize it to both parties’ benefit. Why does this model work? Because people around the globe want to be listened to, collaborate, be part of something bigger, and dream of turning their hobbies into a career. As long as you are connected to the network you can participate, which allows companies to “crowd-staff” and bring an impressive variety of remote participants’ skills to the table.


Qualvu has embraced the principles of crowd-sourcing to break new ground in the qualitative market research field. And Qualvu’s experience with crowd-sourcing has been rewarding and enriching when it comes to its own staffing.


“As Qualvu started growing, our visionary executives saw the need to find skillful individuals who could help throughout the transition. But the crowd-sourcing strategy they found to be the answer at the moment has become part of the Qualvu’s business model. The urgency in getting the truth back to clients as fast as possible was obvious.  How do you do that? We reached out to teams of skillful people who could assist the researchers in identifying the most important pieces of information and discussions that we were able to gain from consumers, and that was a key decision in being able to assign the time reporting needed based on those content-rich, valuable clips that truly portray how panelists feel about a client’s product, innovative idea, or marketing campaign we were presenting them with.“ said Shelly Krasnick, Managing Director Research & Insights.


Qualvu’s leverage of crowd-sourcing hasn’t stopped there – the company has since extended into transcription and interpretation, multicultural analysis, and even video question recording (questions are posed by professional actors and actresses for those clients who don’t wish to do it themselves!).