Crowdsourced competitions are widely misunderstood.
Visit any major crowdsource effort and you will find only a tiny percentage of ideas are ever implemented. Most contributors don’t have the skill, knowledge of your products, or understand your company’s constraints well enough to develop a fully-formed idea.
Worse yet, crowdsourcing efforts are rarely set up to accommodate truly groundbreaking ideas.
Browse the 550+ ideas implemented through Dell’s Ideastorm, is there really a game-changer in the bunch? Most ideas tinkered around the edges of old products. There aren’t any new smartphones, social networks, cryptocurrencies, machine learning, or breakthrough products here.
Crowdsourced ideas often closely resemble a list of customer complaints (isn’t every complaint also an idea of what to improve?)
But the real benefit of crowdsourcing ideas and solutions extends beyond fully-formed ideas. It helps identify amazing talent to hire, new approaches to follow and to confirm or refute your existing thinking. You might not use an idea in its entirety, but you may learn from unique aspects of each idea.
Having a hundred, or even a thousand, fresh pair of eyes give their opinion on a problem more than pays for the relatively tiny fee to attract them in the first place.