In the future of work, which is now, there’s a new type of person necessary to success. Call them crowdsourcing whisperers—or open-source evangelists. You can’t automate their influence on culture. These folks make it possible for businesses to implement changes to their workforce and transform into crowdsourcing powerhouses, building structures that harness freelance talent without compromising employees’ trust (or proprietary information or data) in the process.
Smitha Kumaran, Crowdsourcing Lead at Wipro, is one such evangelist. She promotes crowdsourcing as a delivery option in Wipro, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company. Wipro began allowing and encouraging its employees to take part in projects and competitions offered through the on-demand talent network Topcoder, which it acquired in 2016. Here are some of the insights Kumaran shared with Open Assembly, drawing on her experience encouraging Wipro employees to embrace this new way of working.
John Winsor: How do you describe what you do at Wipro?
Smitha Kumaran: I am an evangelist who helps Delivery Units (DUs) understand what crowdsourcing is and how they can leverage it to support their traditional service offering. I work with internal project groups to help them create expert communities of developers and designers.
Winsor: What’s the advantage for a company to have its employees gigging?
Kumaran: Learning how to work in the gig economy is becoming a necessary life skill, and this allows project managers to get a first-hand experience of how to work in such an economy. We want this to be a tool for our workforce transformation initiative, a program focused on employee career-building and reskilling through hands-on experience. We want employees to learn new skills on their own, get hands-on practice and then to be ready for the future.
Winsor: How do you motivate people to participate?
Kumaran: We encourage submissions through a loyalty program. We also have fun challenges, where we award T-shirts or other goodies. We make challenges interesting and appealing to the community in some way. We get participation for everything, even zero-dollar prize challenges. Prize money in cash makes the audience the most excited and motivated.
Winsor: How has working this way changed the Wipro culture?
Kumaran: We are embarking on a culture change journey and crowdsourcing will be one of the enablers. Wipro-ites are excited to be pioneering a new model of service delivery that can potentially revolutionize the IT services space. We work with Wipro’s Human Resources, Information Risk Management, Finance and Legal teams to make crowdsourcing operational.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Forbes.