What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing has become an astronomic trend in the recent years, promoting innovation and fraternization in business, community, research and administration. Crowdsourcing is collective problem-solving using crowd wisdom. In today’s world it is imperative to know how to move along the network of connected people and leverage off individuals who can contribute knowledge, feedback and ideas to companies. Senior Management has to understand that gone are the days where outsourcing was considered to be a lean business model. Crowdsourcing is here to stay. Ideas are spreading like wildfire thanks to social media, which has helped connect individuals like never before. It is smarter to organize labor as a community, than as a corporate.

A recent Harvard Business Review article speaks about Korean pop sensation Psy crowdsourcing the famous “invisible horse dance” by inviting suggestions from the Korean dance community, rather than relying on his internal team.


List of websites in different categories that use crowdsourcing

Website Category
Wikipedia Information Aggregation
iStockPhoto Photography
Elance/Odesk Jobs
99designs Graphic design
Naming Force Business name
Chaordix Market Intelligence
Crowdformers Trash recycling
American Idol Talent
CrowdJewel Jewelry
Quirky Invention
Yelp Review directory

Benefits of crowdsourcing

  • Diverse participation– Crowdsourcing allows for individuals from every corner of the world, irrespective of their gender, cast, age or community to participate. It thus provides a more complete picture of opinions and preferences.
  • Instant results– Traditional methods for getting individuals to participate could take a lot of time. Crowdsourcing helps gain a clear understanding into the community’s preferences and priorities in a quick and effective manner.
  • Cost-effective– Crowdsourcing has reduced the costs of knowledge exchange, group formation and collaboration.
  • Transparent– Both the strengths and weakness of crowdsourced information are derived from its openness.
  • Offload peak demand– Crowdsourcing allows organizations to offload peak demand while simultaneously accessing cheap labor.

Factors essential for successful crowdsourcing

  • The most important parameter for a successful crowdsourcing campaign is the availability of required infrastructure that can support such an effort.
  • It is essential that the crowd be viewed as a partner in the initiative
  • Motivate the crowd to participate and align incentives accordingly.
  • Crowd must feel some degree of social connection with one another.
  • Crowd should be able to view participation as an opportunity to develop individual skills and also have fun simultaneously.
  • Opportunity for the crowd to build a reputation by using relevant skills that may benefit the project.

As Jamie Drummond says in the video below, there are three very essential steps in ensuring a successful crowdsourcing campaign: COLLECTING CONNECTING and COMMITTING

Crowdsourcing may help reduce costs and improve efficiency in the developed world, but apply it to the emerging economies, and it is a game changer. In the developing countries, crowdsourcing is playing a HUGE role in ensuring that diverse ethnic groups and minorities are not ignored. It finds applications in coordinating relief efforts during natural disasters, transforming healthcare, eradicating poverty, tackling corruption and believe it or not, in locating water in the remotest of regions.

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