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All about Crowdsourcing – part 3

The community of Enviu is the core engine of Enviu. Without the crowd, Enviu would be just empty ship lost in the ocean. In this part of our article series “All about crowdsourcing” you will get to know how is Enviu using crowdsourcing and what is the secret recipe behind working with an issue and impact-driven community. We will share some cases with you to explain our daily crowdsourcing process.

The Crowd and Enviu

Today every individual is empowered to make changes that affect their community – local or global – and create positive impact. Enviu starts new companies who aim for impact. How are these companies started? It’s no magic. Our innovation process revolves around co-creation and it’s at the heart of how Enviu ideates, develops, and markets its solutions for social and environmental issues.

Who is the crowd?

All of these solutions wouldn’t be able to standalone without a community of problem owners, specialists, technical people, business people, and others that might be far from the issue to be solved. All of them actively participate in solving specific issues, contributing time, skills and or their expertise. There are entrepreneurs, young professionals, corporate partners, universities, and senior executives that are tightly involved in the co-creation process of solutions for sustainability issues.

But, what to do with all these valuable people? The answer is co-creation, done in hand with crowdsourcing. And how exactly? Well, it’s not simple, but possible. There are some “good-to-knows” from the cases we would like to share with you, read on.

Crowd in action – powered by Enviu

→ Case 1: Open-Source House (OS-House)

From the early stages, Enviu invited a variety of stakeholders and members of the community to join forces and help develop solutions, both from the technical-architectural perspective, and a business development perspective. The co-creation process involved over 3000 people from 4 countries consisting of end-users, research students in Ghana, local experts from Ghana and housing experts from low-income countries, universities, architects, local authorities, sponsors, local banks, developers, constructors, and entrepreneurs.

The output of the OS-House challenge was a rich platform hosting 247 architectural solutions made freely available to use to anyone interested in building a house. This was possible thanks to the co-creation process, which benefited the project with the knowledge and creativity of experts, end-users and architects from 45 countries that together designed sustainable and affordable housing solutions. Architects participated on the platform both as individuals and as teams.

The OS-House was the first Enviu project where an online platform was used for the needs of Enviu’s co-creation process. During this first version of the platform the managing team learned many lessons. For example, the project would have benefited more if each participating would have involved local architects from Ghana.

→ Case 2: Sustainable Dance Club (SDC)

In the case of SDC, Enviu teamed up with Döll architects and together started a process where key players of the clubbing value-chain were approached and mixed with various relevant experts: users, club owners, architects, cultural promoters, and specialists, including industrial designers and engineers. Next to that many volunteers, students and other specialists joined.

Over 200 people and organizations became involved in a series of brainstorms and workshops on how to develop innovative solutions that would help clubs from all over the world reduce their environmental impact. Out of this ideation process some 40 technical solutions where selected for further development, some of them combining existing solutions available from the market.

The whole co-creation took place mainly in offline meetings and workshops. For the realization of such challenging innovation, Enviu brought together a team of experts from Delft Technical University, Eindhoven University, and Studio Roosegaarde; each team bringing its own expertise.

→ Case 3: Three Wheels United (TWU)

During international design competition named the “Hybrid Auto Rickshaw Battle”, run for 18 months, that involved students from 7 different technical universities (NL and India), mobility experts, auto-rickshaw driver’s union, local Indian organizations, designers, and volunteers, Enviu together with a huge crowd co-created solutions for more clean and also fuel-efficient tuk-tuks. Upon finishing the competition Enviu partnered with Indian entrepreneurs to start-up a company in India, called Three Wheels United. TWU is currently taking off and with succes!

How does Enviu make the co-creation process work?

Let’s share some success factors and see how it could work for you. Managing an online community is not like running a factory. Rather, managing an online community is a customer service and public relations activity.

Experience has shown that the most valuable asset for co-creating solutions with a positive impact is to involve those that are passionate about the subject. Before starting a co-creation process, spend time building a community of people sharing a common interest to solve a specific matter.

How to make the crowd to be eager to come up with ideas, be engaged during all the time that the challenge lasts and is exited to co-create a solution that will end-up like a profitable sustainable solution? It’s process really takes some time to learn. You can read our learnings on how to successfully manage co-creation in our Cocreation Guide for Positive Impact.


This is the best way how to get involved the right people:

  • Define them – you rarely find somebody you don’t know who he/she should be
  • Find them – make use of all the available technology as well as historically-known word-of-mouth
  • Engage them – use appropriate “tools” (competition, events, brainstorming, workshops, online platforms) together with clear communication

Search and continue
Generally we search for all relevant individuals via online, offline or personal tools through the selected communication channels. Then we start our crowdsourcing platform so that the community can exchange ideas. The whole community creates separate teams and they work together on their concept. In the end, all concepts are compared and the best are chosen for further work.

Next time we will share some of our learnings on current projects. Want to read the other articles on crowdsourcing? You can find them here and here.

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