What Are Some Examples of Crowdsourcing Innovation?

5 min readMar 17, 2021


It takes a crowd to make a great product.

There’s no better demonstration of the power of crowdsourcing than proof of it in action. Here are four examples of crowdsourcing in action improving everything from financial services to government communications.

Standard Bank: Getting Money Where It Needs To Be

Standard Bank, first established in 1862, is one of South Africa’s financial powerhouses, operating in 20 countries across the continent. On a consumer level, that means Standard has multiple ATMs that it needs to keep filled with currency in order to maintain customer satisfaction.

Standard wanted to reduce the overall downtime in its ATM service centers, raising the level of service while reducing the cost of operating an ATM system. The problem was that most tools that existed only focused on cost reduction, ignoring service entirely. There were also safety issues to be considered: large amounts of cash draw criminal attention anywhere in the world.

So the bank turned to its internal crowdsourcing group, UpSquad, for ideas. UpSquad is open to the majority of Standard’s organization to collect, refine, and implement approaches to improving service. Working with UpSquad, the company developed a tool, the ATM-CIT Route Optimization Project Navigator. Using machine learning and built on input for the ATM service center staff as they went about their routes, the Navigator ultimately reduced downtime by 20–23%, even in the prototype stage.

Standard used crowdsourcing to recruit those who knew their work best to create a tool that helps them do it better and keep the ATMs ready to help anybody who needed cash.

Dick’s Sporting Goods: Spotting Future Trends From Its Most Committed Team Members

Collaboration is fun, and that’s part of its strength.

As sports and exercise become ever more inclusive and diverse, retail operations need to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the needs of multiple constituencies. Dick’s Sporting Goods is a case in point; the retailer offers everything from running gear to professional safety equipment for contact sports to complex gym machinery for an ever-widening group of outdoorsy types, home workout enthusiasts, and athletes. And as eCommerce and online marketing become more central to its operations, so will its need to know what ever-narrower sectors of its possible customer base need.

Fortunately, the company has a dedicated workforce that reflects the broad sweep of its customer base. So, they started there with a tool called Concept Locker.

Concept Locker aimed to get a sense of what might be the next important piece of sporting equipment. Anyone with a company email address could participate, following prompts like “I wish I had” to offer up ideas. In addition, the moderators at Concept Locker made sure to look at each idea, offering comments and thoughts to help the community refine it. If an idea seemed somewhat vague, they encouraged the contributor to build on it a bit more and brought out the best side of the community as it contributed and refined each idea.

The team saw a strong community response, more than doubling their expected number of sign-ups for the Locker. The second round of idea collection ultimately wound up with 58 unique ideas from 737 users, giving Dick’s a sense of what its customers might need most.

QED: Improving How Data Is Shared, Considered, and Used

Innovation can spark far more than just personal connections.

QED is a consulting firm that works to bring the best in project management tools to interests in developed and developing nations around the globe. As such, it needs clean data from a variety of sources, including feedback from those it works with.

However, there are a number of obstacles QED had to overcome. There are only so many polite nudges you can subject a client to, after all. Yet closing this loop is important to know what works and what needs to be built. The solution used crowdsourcing in two unique ways.

First, QED tapped into its employee base to ask what tools were necessary and how to best close the loop. Ultimately, they settled on three, including one called SHARE, designed to address both internal needs and customer feedback with an interactive platform easily accessible across the globe.

Next, however, they turned to another crowdsourcing tool, TopCoder. TopCoder puts the specs of the tool out there for freelance coders to submit prototypes for allowing for internal testing. The finished platform was quickly put to use, helping to address a key pain point.

Western Australia Police: Managing Safety Across A Broad Territory

Who do we work with?

Covering nearly a million square miles, Western Australia is the single largest police jurisdiction in the world. It covers a major capital, regional seats, rural areas, and some of the most remote territories on the planet. Despite all the space, though, Western Australia is growing at a rapid clip, creating a profound challenge for a department that has to manage 157 police stations and all the work that goes into them.

The most crucial challenge for any police department in that situation is time. Serving paperwork, canvassing for information, reporting to courtrooms, transferring prisoners, and other tasks can require long travel times. Add to this the necessity of proper documentation and recording, and time is at a premium.

Hence, the Western Australia Police formed the Continuous Improvement Team (CIT) to draw from the department’s 8,000 public servants. The goal was simple, asking where the department could reduce red tape and improve outcomes. An early indication of how quickly the service would move is that they stood up their innovation portal in a day, letting them move quickly.

The suggestions ranged from streamlining specific forms of reporting, which saved 8,000 hours annually, to policy changes that reduced duplication of effort when putting together rosters. One change, in particular, saved thousands of hours simply by changing a legislative requirement for officers to sit and guard suspects in rooms unsuitable for either them or the office since stations weren’t designed to detain suspects outside of a handful of areas. That change alone has freed up 46,000 hours across the force.

As you can see, drawing from those who know your business best, your team, can offer powerful results. To learn more, request a demo!

This article was originally published on the IdeaScale blog here.




IdeaScale is the leading innovation management software platform for the enterprise, government, and education. Gather ideas, implement them. www.ideascale.com