Competing with or Against Crowds

March 26, 2018

Read The Full Prompt

In this module we have examined how firms can leverage digital technologies to harness the power of collective intelligence from the crowds to create value and capture value. For this assignment you have three options:

1 – Pick one industry where no firms have leveraged crowds, and come up with a crowd-based business model that may potentially transform the industry. Describe how you plan to create and capture value. Explain why the crowd will participate, and why your crowd-based model is better than the current model employed by the incumbents.

2 – Describe a company that is using crowds (external or internal) in an innovative manner. Describe how they incentivize participation and manage the crowd. What are the challenges? Describe how value creation and value capture occur, and the growth potential of this business.

3 – Companies often struggle with crowds as well. Describe failed crowdsourcing efforts and explain how and why the company failed. Given what you have learned in the course, what would you do differently?

Create an approximately 500-750 word post at to make your contribution by 6pm on March 26. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module before class. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Submitted (84)

Show me the Waze to go home
Hans Latta
Posted on March 22, 2018 at 12:53 am
With 22.5 billion kilometers logged and 100 million users, Waze has rapidly become the navigation app of choice. And it got there through crowd-sourcing.
Wikipedia: The Ultimate Crowdsourced Knowledge Tool
E. Haviland
Posted on March 19, 2018 at 4:13 pm
"Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia, created and edited by volunteers around the world"
Glassdoor: Potentially littered with inaccurate and fabricated information?
Posted on March 24, 2018 at 9:44 pm
Glassdoor, a Yelp of job seekers, is fundamentally changing the way candidates hunt for jobs and companies recruit talent. Glassdoor is not only an aggregator of job openings, as sites such as Indeed and CareerBuilder often are, but it is [...]
YouTube’s Evolving Challenge
Last modified on March 26, 2018 at 4:49 pm
YouTube (YT) is the largest search engine in the world, second only to Google itself. With over 1 billion hours of content watched each day and over 300 hours of new content uploaded each minute, YouTube sits in the middle [...]
Avocado Oreos? – Crowdsourcing in the CPG World
Last modified on March 25, 2018 at 11:02 am
Crowdsourcing creates value for CPG brands
Tarjimly: Crowdsourcing Translators to Help Refugees Communicate
Last modified on March 24, 2018 at 1:52 pm
How can you leverage crowdsourcing to help refugees in a scalable and financially sustainable manner?
Volition: Democratizing Beauty
Posted on March 25, 2018 at 1:32 pm
“Imagined by you. Powered by all.”
Spoiled Crowds: Is Rotten Tomatoes Good for the Movie Industry?
Last modified on March 26, 2018 at 9:04 am
Is it better to trust the wisdom of crowds in deciding what to watch?
Who needs tutors with a crowd-based homework/exam preparation platform?
Posted on March 25, 2018 at 8:27 pm
When I struggled as a high school student with a homework or exam preparation, I had a couple of solutions: Call a friend and if I am very lucky after all the chit chat, the friend can somewhat help. Sometimes [...]
Duolingo: Using the Wisdom of Crowds to Translate Language
Last modified on March 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm
Duolingo operates in a smart “twofer” model – offering free language courseware while monetizing the crowd-sourced content translated by its users.
“Boaty McBoatface”: the British Government’s Epic Fail in Crowdsourcing
Posted on March 23, 2018 at 2:42 pm
How the crowd overwhelmed the British public sector with a witty name.
I paid $200 for someone to name my company Whiskass
Posted on March 25, 2018 at 8:38 pm
Squadhelp is one of many companies that helps customers come up with business names, logos, and slogans through the power of crowdsourcing. I’m not proud to admit it, but I recently employed Squadhelp to brainstorm some names for my recent [...]
IKEA: crowdsourcing ideas to co-create a better everyday life
Last modified on March 25, 2018 at 6:48 pm
IKEA, the traditional furniture retailer with 75 years history, is now planning a digital platform to co-create products and innovations with third-party designers, startups, and customers. “We are launching ‘Co-Create IKEA’, a digital platform where customers will have the possibility [...]
Quora: They won the battle for entry, but can they win the war for revenues??
Posted on March 23, 2018 at 2:46 pm
Even as a late entrant to a network effect heavy business, Adam D'Angelo was able to amass an impressively large and high quality crowd based answering platform... but can he turn it into a revenue generating business?
Farmers Business Network | Disrupting One Farm At A Time
Posted on March 21, 2018 at 11:41 pm
A young startup co-founded by an HBS grad has revolutionized the agriculture sector and put Big Agra in defense mode. And they’re doing so by crowdsourcing farmers’ data.
Reddit – Democratizing Online Content
Posted on March 26, 2018 at 1:56 am
How the 4th most visited website in the United States is managing its self-regulating crowdsourced platform
“Do us a flavor”: engaging the layperson in choosing Lay’s Chips flavors
Posted on March 24, 2018 at 3:52 pm
Since 2012, Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, has been running an annual crowdsourcing campaign to determine new flavors for its Lay’s brand potato chips. Executives hoped to achieve a 3% bump in revenue from the campaign in its first year, [...]
Citizen App and the controversy of crowdsourced ‘Citizen Policing’
Last modified on March 25, 2018 at 1:31 pm
Citizen is a platform that encourages 'Citizen Policing'. Users near crimes are alerted and prompted to live stream crimes in progress. There has been heated debate about the ethics of the platform despite its rapid growth and major VC backing.
Lay’s Increases Sales by Asking Customers to “Do Us a Flavor”
Posted on March 26, 2018 at 10:18 am
Learn how Lay's potato chips increased sales by using crowdsourcing to ask their fans to do them a "flavor".
GoFundMe: Leveraging Crowds for Good
Posted on March 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm
GoFundMe is an innovative crowdfunding platform that allows individuals to launch fundraising campaigns for initiatives that are important to them
GasBuddy: A Platform for Crowdsourced Gas Price Data
Posted on March 25, 2018 at 2:18 pm
How the largest gas discovery platform in North America utilizes crowdsourced data to drive a sustainable platform business model
Amazon reviews: Loved, but also to be trusted?
Posted on March 25, 2018 at 7:54 pm
Amazon has been successful in leveraging users to review its products ... now, the integrity of those reviews are at stake.
Glossier’s Lip Gloss Empire
Last modified on March 26, 2018 at 11:04 am
Emily Weiss can be considered the queen of crowds as far as the beauty market is concerned, as Glossier’s business model depends entirely on an army of loyal fans for all of its core processes, from product development, to marketing, [...]
Is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk breaking down?
Posted on March 26, 2018 at 1:09 am
Workers are disgruntled in Amazon's MTurk marketplace, but can they successfully demand more rights?
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