As a direct consequence of the technological developments of the past decade, internal crowdsourcing (IC) represents a new form of in-house knowledge dissemination and digital collaboration. With IC, the employees of a company (considered as a crowd) exchange and generate ideas via a digital platform. The resulting increase in efficiency by way of process-, product or service-innovation is naturally attractive for companies. However, the acceptance of IC by employees is hampered by the lack of sustainable incentives and regulatory safeguards for work performed in the crowd. To ensure that employees are motivated in the long term and can exploit the existing potential of IC for themselves, an employee-oriented design of internal crowd work must be developed.
IC Best Practice Model for Future Reference
The goal of ICU is to develop a hands-on, employee-friendly, internal crowd-sourcing model that serves as a reference case of good practice for future crowdsourcing activities. The focus of the model design is the employee-friendly aspect of the application, the digital participation of employees in corporate processes and the opening of competency enhancements through crowd work. The reference model addresses the three main operational topics of innovation management, employee participation and qualification and combines them strategically. In doing so, it helps companies to mobilize existing, unused knowledge and competences internally, to connect them cross-divisionally and to involve them productively in company processes. At the same time, it improves the direct communication between management and staff, simplifies the identification of employees' skills and the qualification measures that suit them.
Multi-level model development using participatory methods
Based on case study analysis, a basic model for IC is developed. It consists of a strategy for IC with the components "Innovation Management", "Employee Participation" and "Qualification & Training" as well as an IC platform. This basic IC model will be adapted, tested and further adjusted into a good practice model for IC. Subsequently, the research consortium together with partners from the project network will evaluate the good-practice-model and transform it into a cross-industry reference model by using participatory methods. In principle, the project pursues a participatory approach in which all stakeholders (workforce / works council / company management) and projects partners are actively involved in the development process through participatory measures from the start of the project.
Knowledge Transfer and Dissemination of the Project Results
The research results and practical experience as well as checklists and guidelines for IC will be available on the project website. One of the key project outcomes will be a “model works agreement” specifically targeted at works councils and unions. Another one will be action-ready implementation guidelines for companies that summarize the operational framework identified in ICU, management processes and quality standards. Furthermore, the project results will be transferred via targeted public relations, publications, workshops as well as other public events and a final conference.
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