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Crowdsourcing is all the rage at the moment. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s the idea of taking a task normally done by one person (or one agency) and turning it over to a crowd. For example, coming up with new business ideas might be done by a single entrepreneur, but websites like Cambrian House invite people to submit the kernel of an idea and have “the crowd” chip in to refine and build upon it until a viable business emerges.
Well, now energy company E.ON is getting in on the crowdsourcing act by asking you and I to come up with creative ways to shape energy use. There are five challenges, linked with the challenges in a new Channel 4 television series which transforms a Sheffield family’s home by filling it with the latest tech and gadgets.
Is crowdsourcing a good idea for this sort of endavour? Despite the obvious cynical attitude that it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a team of consultants, I think it also opens up the possibility of having some truly bizarre ideas submitted.
See, the bizarre ideas are very valuable. They spark lines of thought that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise, and might lead on to something a little less outlandish that may actually work.
The same thing happens in “brainstorming” sessions – where rather than judging each idea as it is suggested, you just roll with it and churn another idea out. Before long you have a list of wild and wacky ideas and some real gems.
The key here is volume of ideas. With a wide enough selection, there are bound to be some good ones in there.
For an introduction to the scheme, check out this video:
The video mentions a couple of website you’ll want to check out - E.ON Innovation, where you can submit your ideas for energy-saving, and the TV series that accompanies all of this, Home of the Future.
The best submission from each challenge will win a home energy makeover worth up to £2,000, and one of the five winners will be selected to receive the ‘Shining Star’ award, which increases the prize to a home energy makeover worth up to £10,000 so, if you have a fantastic idea for how to change the way we consume energy, it’s well worth giving it a shot. TIme to dust off those plans for a treadmill-powered washing machine, I think.
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