Web Strategy: Harness the Collective Knowledge of your Customers –Instructables

Websites harness the knowledge of crowds
Instructables is a website I’ve reviewed before, see “Instructables: This Social Innovation site that could Evolve to a Company” it’s great example of harnessing the wisdom of crowds for collection knowledge sharing and capture.

Often, your collective customers will know more about your products than your product team.

I’ve frequently suggested that companies deploy such resources for products that require development or even to reduce installation or support costs. It’s commonly agreed that the collective knowledge of customers are often greater than product teams –so harness it!

As a web strategist, I often will experiment with each website to understand it (even social sites for 8-12 year olds like Club Penguin and even Walmart’s myspace site). Even though we created a step program for a cooking recipe it’s still a demonstration of using the tool.

Instructables is a website that makes it easy to upload pictures, text, and put them in sequence, readers can leave comments, rate, tag, and do all kinds of other 2.0 responses.

My wife helped me write up the instructions for some of this –she may start posting some of her recipes in the future.

Web Strategy: Harness the Collective Wisdom of your Customer Base:

  • Consider creating a webtool that allows your customers to self support each other by uploading and sharing instructions
  • Deploy social tools such as ratings, taggings, comments, and social networking to encourage collaboration
  • Reward uses who provide excellent instructions –other users will identify value-add contributors


  • Low cost management: Save time and resources by harnessing the knowledge of your crowd.
  • Build a pool of knowledge that’s easily found (make it public so Google crawls it)
  • Demonstrate to prospects a thriving community around your products.
(Written from the Portland Airport, Gate C14)