Crowdsourcing has always been a fascinating and (often) rewarding aspect of social media. Ever since airlines realised the power of the social web, they have dabbled in crowdsourcing in various ways.

However, now, in a uniquely new initiative, Lufthansa Cargo has launched a new contest inviting people to use their imagination and present their “Green Solutions” and ideas for “Add-On Services” to help reduce the cargo company’s environmental impact and improve their services.

The initiative is unique because this is the first time a cargo carrier is entering the fray of social media to crowdsource ideas. Second, it has to be admitted that, if implemented, some of these solutions could not just pave the path for a greener planet but also for a huge change in the industry per se.

Great initiative, great ideas

The contest is open to anyone in the world and all entries are posted online in an open forum where people can review and comment. According to Lufthansa Cargo, proposals can cover any aspect within the Lufthansa Air Cargo Supply Chain (Sales, Handling, Transport,Customer Service) that fall within the categories of Green Solutions and/or Add-On Services. The exciting part for those who enter their proposals is the ability to receive feedback and exposure from people all over the world.

Already, a number of great entries have been received (I’m told around 100 ideas have been submitted), of which I’m highlighting some that struck me particularly:

Roof Farming: The roofs considered to belong to Lufthansa Cargo AG are mainly flat with much unused space. Add solar collectors, receive environmentally friendly produced energy and potentially use leftover organic material for a biogas plant.

Green Cargo: Reduce CO2 emissions and fuel usage by operating planes at higher capacity and by reducing number of flights. By booking GreenCargo customers accept a larger flexibility regarding shipping time of their goods and products.

Track your package: When a customer pays a shipment with their Miles and More credit card, a part of the credit card number could be used to track the shipments. One Miles and More mile could be awarded for every 10 Miles/1 kg of the shipment.

To crowdsource or not to crowdsource?

Mostly, the answer would be yes. (I say “mostly” because you only need to go a little back in time to the #QantasLuxury fiasco to understand how crowdsourcing could potentially backfire if the timing isn’t right.) There are a number of reasons why crowdsourcing is such an attractive option when done right. The rewards gained from the process itself can be quite significant. Here’s why I think crowdsourcing done well is a good idea:

  1. It helps in building brand engagement since customers feel that the airline is willing to listen to them.
  2. It can provide great rewards for the airline itself if it’s looking for creative solutions since there is the potential to harness the power of innumerable minds.
  3. A feel-good viral initiative can create a great amount of buzz and goodwill for the airline.
  4. It can extend the brand’s power to even those who aren’t existing customers and get them interested in flying the airline.
  5. If the initiative is directly related to some in-flight service/product offering, the chances are that a generous amount of revenue could be generated since customers would feel that the airline is offering something in which they were “involved”.
  6. Since a certain amount of active dialogue would generally be involved between the customers and the airline, often airline’s can clarify doubts or alleviate concerns about why they offer or don’t offer certain services.

As far as I see it, this initiative looks primed for great success due to its inherently feel-good nature and the excellent response from numerous people worldwide (many of whom, I’m guessing, are not Lufthansa customers).

Lufthansa Cargo says that it will award three winners with a trip to Frankfurt, Germany where they will get to present their proposals to engineers and management and disuss how their ideas may be implemented.  Winners will also receive flight training with a Lufthansa Cargo Flight Captain and up to 25,000 Miles and More Miles. If nothing else, it’s bound to be a great job exposure and training opportunity.

Here’s hoping at least a few of these great ideas become reality really soon!

Note: The contest is open till December 19th 2011. Entries can be submitted here.

Tell us what you think about this initiative in the comments below or tweet us @simpliflying.

 

Shubhodeep Pal

Shubhodeep Pal

Vice President, Products & Operations at SimpliFlying
Shubhodeep Pal is the Vice President of Products and Operations at SimpliFlying and has been leading Product Development, Marketing and Business Development since December 2010 from the headquarters in Singapore. His writings have appeared extensively on SimpliFlying as well as revered industry outlets such as Tnooz, Airlinetrends and Loyalty360. He has considerable experience working in the social media sphere, having also conducted a workshop at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. He has written an introductory e-book for social media newbies and has previously interned at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as well. His wide range of interests include startups, programming, economics, geopolitics, film-direction/criticism and literature. His first collection of poems, Interruptions was released in 2009. He can be reached at shubhodeep@simpliflying.com.
Shubhodeep Pal
Shubhodeep Pal

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