OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign up, Login or Learn more

Crowdsourcing from Lead-users (Market-based approach)

Crowdsourcing from Lead Users in developing/underdeveloped countries using digital and other methods, qualify & engineer the best solutions

Photo of anthony james
3 2

Written by

Image license (Bing)

The key and simple market-based concept here is crowdsourcing lead-users.

Lead-users are those who have already developed solutions - some might be very crude solution but they work,  perhaps not in a ideal way but better than alternatives.   Their problem is an everyday problem.  So there are not going to wait for someone to develop solutions for them.  They develop solutions using their own tools, local materials, parts of existing solutions, etc. - a solution that works for them.  Again, it might not be perfect, but it could be close.

Many of these lead-users might not be reachable by this challenge or the web directly.  So the solution involves how can we reach these potential lead-users beyond our existing means using other methods, and also crowdsourcing engineering expertise and univeristy students to qualify and help engineer and build solutions.


1. Reach out to the those who already have solutions (which may already be innovative) through "crowdsourcing" in undeveloped/developing countries to assess their existing solutions, needs, and pain-points.

2. Develop a requirements specification based on needs for each market segment

3. Qualify the solutions for effectiveness, quality and cost (crowdsourcing engineering talent (pro-bono time) from engineering companies)

4. Assess the different submarkets that required solutions

5. Select the key product levers from each solution, based on engineering qualification, engineer and build solutions for each market segment based on needs/features and cost (crowdsourcing engineering pro-bono time from engineering companies/share IP with original designer, prototyping skills from university students)

6. Leverage digital platform/ cloud, mobile, social media, analytic and IoT as is possible after the system designs are complete.

How would you describe the stage of development of your idea?

  • Conceptual Development

How big or scalable is the potential of your idea?

As scalable is as is cloud technologies.

Explain the sustainability aspect of your idea

Ongoing viability and support: Crowdsourcing volunteer/pro bono time from professional organizations. They receive recognition and some IP. They already have volunteer programs.

What types of financing would be required for your idea to be successful?

What ever is necessary. There will have to be some full-time coordinating staff at some point - students? Free cloud development resources to start. Microsoft/AWS/Google, etc. Whoever wants to pitch in. I am available as an adviser to help direct and contribute, based on my other commitments.

If you are proposing to partner with other organizations, please explain their role and reason for partnership.

Cloud companies - technology Engineering companies - qualifying existing and engineering new solutions Universities - prototyping skills Manufacturing companies - materials

In-country experience

  • Yes, for two or more years

If you have been operating in India, what has been your focus?


Is your organization currently legally registered in India?

  • No

What states or districts will you target/are you targeting within India?


Tell us a bit about yourself.

Make a positive difference in peoples lives in areas of need <-currently teach undergrad/grad students part-time, I have the next two quarters off starting middle of March. Strong interest in business design, product design and innovation. Passionate about technology. Team - who ever wants to join My product development experience is multi-discipinary. Over 40+/products and projects My work experience includes strategic program/project development - strategic research, data science, product/project engineering (systems), and a technical lead. Bs Civil Eng./MBA/Specialization in Information Systems (Analytics) & Systems Architecture/Engineering


Join the conversation:

Photo of Devendra Natekar

Love your idea and I submitted something similar. See if it makes sense to be a team

Photo of anthony james

Thanks! absolutely.  If you have interest, that's great! I've added you as a team member! Welcome!

Photo of Shane Zhao

Great to see you two connect Deven and Tony! Tony, here's a link to Deven's post in case if you're interested in checking it out: Crowdfund ideas devised by the community itself and then developing them into products sold for profit in the larger market