Surely by now you’ve heard of crowdsourcing as a way to tap into the collective intelligence of a group of people. Historically, crowdsourcing has primarily been used for financial benefits, like when a group of people decide to collectively invest a larger sum of money into a product or project in order to gain a return on their money. But now crowdsourcing is also being used to take advantage of the collective savvy, and opinion, of the public at large.
This is what the luxury home design company, Surge Homes, has done in order to make sure their design ideas meet the expectations of the future residents of their communities.
The company has taken crowdsourcing to the next level of innovation. They gathered information via interactive discussions online and in-person from nearly 3,500 prospective homebuyers, realtors, architects, and neighbors on designs and floor plans for single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums. This was surely the best way to meet client expectations instead of imposing the views of the company in every design.
The information received from this crowdsourcing project was used to create interior packages that would reflect the various european-inspired finishes offered at Surge Homes.
Owners Louis Conrad and Ben Lemieux listened to the feedback, positive and negative, from the crowdsourcing project and used it to tweak, refine, and even completely redesign some of their initial plans.
“Over our 26 years in this business, we have learned that we should not assume what people want,” Conrad said.
Wondering what the company found to be popular among the general public surveyed?
- In one area surrounding Houston, buyers want classic home designs. Originally the company went with a modern-style for townhomes and single-family homes in the area, but survey respondents wanted a more classic look in their homes since the neighborhood has a historic feel.
- Buyers in other neighborhoods with more recent developments prefer a modern look. Even though homes in that area were initially planned to be very classic, the survey revealed that buyers in these areas preferred more modern designs.
- Buyers in established neighborhoods want yards in keeping with other properties in the neighborhood. To please buyers in this area, Surge Homes made sure to include larger yards and green spaces for buyers.
- Some buyers want elevators. Buyers of large, high-end homes wanted elevators. Surge Homes responded by providing the option of an in-home elevator in some projects.
Feedback given in this crowdsourcing project confirmed that it can be difficult to know what buyers want in a home unless you ask them.
“We believe that giving prospective buyers and neighbors the opportunity to share their vision of how the community should be built is the future,” Lemieux said.
This process of using crowdsourcing to design homes and other products may not be unique for long as other companies are starting to take notice of this great approach to meeting customer needs.
In the future, crowdsourcing will likely become part of the norm, rather than a unique way to run a customer preference based business. But for now, Surge Homes is leading the way by using crowdsourcing to satisfy customers in and around Houston.