Six of the best: Crowdsourcing

31 July 2014

Big brands are realising that there is power in numbers and are looking to the crowd for sparks of inspiration

1 Netflix

Netflix challenged its developers to come up with a better recommendation engine for its customers back in 2006. The Netflix Prize aimed to improve the accuracy of predicting how much a customer would enjoy a movie based on their movie preferences. $1 million was up for grabs, with the competition expected to last until 2011. But it was cut short in 2009 when the team BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos claimed the prize with its outstanding algorithm.

2 Starbucks

Even the world’s biggest brands need a little help now and again. Starbucks’ crowdsourcing platform, My Starbucks Idea, lets coffee drinkers share their opinions on products, the in-store experience and the chain’s community and social responsibility. Ideas such as having Starbucks on university campuses, getting a free drink when purchasing a mug and Starbucks evening stores have been introduced as a result.

3 Dell

What better way to find out what your customers want than to interact with them directly? With that in mind, Dell launched IdeaStorm so customers can collaborate with each other and the tech giant. From the thousands of ideas that have been generated Dell has implemented more than 500 of them, including innovative backlit keyboards and biodegradable packing material.


LEGO’s crowdsourcing platform, CUUSOO, is one for your inner child. People can submit product concepts via its site, and if a project gains 10,000 supporters, it is reviewed by LEGO’s designers with the chance of being put into production. If it’s successful, the brains behind it will receive 1% of the total net sales. A Ghostbusters 30th Anniversary set was a recent addition from CUUSOO to the LEGO family.

5 PepsiCo

In 2010, the Pepsi Refresh Project awarded $20 million in grants to individuals, businesses and non-profit organisations who put forward ideas to help their local community. The company has also used its ‘Do us a flavour’ campaign across its different markets, asking fans to come up with new flavours for the brand’s Lay’s potato crisps (or Walkers in the UK).

6 Fiat

The world’s first crowdsourced car became a reality in 2010 when Fiat Brazil unveiled its futuristic concept car, the Fiat Mio. People were invited to create a car for the future and more than 11,000 ideas were submitted. Fiat interpreted and worked the ideas into the car’s design, and the Mio’s final specifications were made available to everyone, including other car manufacturers.