We Collaborate #4 – No Work

The social network isn’t just for socializing anymore. It has grown to become worlds’ largest innovation platform and instead of being used only by marketing or public relations teams, it can now be leveraged to ‘unsource’ traditional internal customer-facing tasks. Customers help fellow customers, and customers help the brand they believe in, particularly in areas such as support services, product improvement and idea generation. Therefore, today’s connected customers and brand fans may become tomorrow’s part-time employees in network of collective social power – boosting innovation and improving customer experience. ‘No Work’ might well be hard work, but it could turn out to be the most effective growth strategy of all.

The best way to recognize customers is by making sure the perceived value of products and services is higher than the money they spend on them. When this is the case, the customer is not only more willing to go that extra mile, but also becomes much more engaged with the brand. Enterprises could even offer incentives in exchange for their customers’ services, such as helping to design and test products for the continued benefit of the brand.

‘No Work’ is about making people care enough about the company that they’re willing to support above and beyond a simple one-off transaction. It’s about leveraging customer experience to drive innovation and productivity for mutual benefit. Future business models that are adaptive and that can extend enterprise operations into the burgeoning crowd economy will win, and they will win big.

Increasingly, powerful social platforms and crowdsourcing sites have the potential to cut out the middleman in product and service transactions. They break down the traditional barriers between enterprises and third-party suppliers, employees and customers. People need a platform on which to collaborate, interact and share ideas with a brand. The concept of “unsourcing” has changed the dynamics of business models, with social brand fans becoming zero-hour contract employees.

Let’s see how it’s done.

My Starbucks Idea platform is an excellent example of how crowdsourcing can source innovative ideas, create new products and improve customer experience – so-called ‘crowd innovation sourcing’. It’s also extremely engaging. Out of the 190,000 ideas submitted by customers, 300 have actually been implemented by Starbucks, and new ideas are being posted on the platform by the hour.

Another example is eYeka, a collective advertising agency that nurtures a global community of creative individuals to deliver original ideas through participating in crowdsourcing competitions. By combining the creative power of this community with the expertise of an agency, eYeka connects talent with leading brands to imagine new concepts, invent better products and co-create engaging content. To date, eYeka has awarded around 6 million euros in prize money to some of the 100,000 ideas submitted by over 300,000 creatives in 167 countries. And it has used these ideas to design adverts for global brands such as Coca Cola, Unilever, Microsoft and Este Lauder.

Capgemini’s Innovators Race addressed to students to create solutions for various worldwide companies is built around the same principle. It gives an opportunity for students and universities to represent their countries on a global innovation platform and engage with industry leaders. It’s a platform where technology and business meet sustainability to achieve real life business solutions. Companies solve their challenges and collect innovation ideas for competitive advantage and better customer experience.

Finally, Zooniverse is an example of what can happen when crowdsourcing becomes citizen science. As the world’s largest and most popular platform for people-powered research, Zooniverse harnesses the power of over 1 million volunteers around the world who come together to assist scientists. Zooniverse’s projects convert volunteers’ efforts into measurable results and have produced a large number of published research papers. In some cases, Zooniverse volunteers have even made completely unexpected and scientifically significant discoveries.

So how do we embrace the benefits of No Work in today’s organization?

1. Social media platforms – use social media platforms such as Yammer to drive innovation, improve communication and boost productivity within the company. For example, Yammer groups could help launch new products, as well as provide a platform for discussion groups, status updates and the exchange of innovative ideas.

2. Innovation platforms – create an innovation platform to engage your customers to submit ideas and improve customer experience. Tools and platforms may turn out to be pivotal catalysts for valuable ideation. Consider gamification as a way to engage and communicate effectively with the brand community.

3. Co-Innovation Labs or co-creation challenges – work together with your customers to co-create innovative solutions and ideas for their businesses in an accelerated solution environment, powered by technology to boost interactions. Our co-Innovation labs provide an entry point for clients to access our innovation capabilities. One of the tangible outcomes of such an exercise is our Virtual Company concept, that has been recognized by leading market analysts.

Yes, No Work means Hard Work. But what a rewarding journey it is! 

Expert: Andrzej Hutniczak 

Part of Capgemini’s TechnoVision 2016 update series. See the overview here.