I have two quick thoughts for a Practically Friday post, our series that looks into practical applications from the world of research.
Startups and entrepreneurs routinely face complex decisions, with everyone on their team offering input and suggestions. All these opinions can be a little overwhelming to say the least. Cite this study (see a plain English summary here) if you are getting feedback overload from advisors, co-founders, investors, etc. When trying to make complex decisions, regardless of whether the feedback is positive or negative, this research shows that receiving feedback is distracting and worsens performance on the task at hand.
There is some new evidence that crowdsourcing can produce good results. In an experiment, ‘the crowd’ was asked to think of and refine survey questions that correlated to outcomes regarding bodyweight and home electricity use. Volunteers came up with a bunch of questions that had strong predictive power, and some that the study authors said were novel or ones they didn't seem to think professional researchers would have come up with. To state that this research extrapolates to business models that rely on crowdsourcing could be a stretch, but it does seem to demonstrate the value crowdsourcing can offer. I think it also provides some heartening news for those wondering what crowdfunding can achieve.