Before you even are thinking that crowd sourcing is just a simple and cheap way to outsource your R&D department to the crowd, realize that it isn’t outsourcing, it is extending your R&D department with more smart people. Social media and in this case crowd sourcing is extending your organization and is extending your thinking.
The issue with every organization is that it has a lot of very smart people who are inside the organization and who are on the payroll, however there are many more bright minds, probably even brighter than the minds you are already employing, that are not part of your organization. The good thing is that these brighter minds aren’t on your payroll, however you can still use their bright ideas when applying crowd sourcing. That is: if you offer the right incentives.
Even though crowd sourcing might be able to reduce some of your costs it requires an adaption in the way you work. You suddenly get some extra brainpower from outside your organization and you have to integrate it in way or another in hour organization and in hour way of working. So don’t see crowd sourcing as just a way to outsource your thinking, it isn’t, it is a way to extend your thinking.