Crowdsourcing, What is that?

Crowdsourcing is a term that often comes along, many people asks themselves, what is it exactly?, well crowdsourcing is basically outsourcing to the crowds.

According to Wikipedia , “Crowdsourcing is the act of sourcing tasks traditionally performed by specific individuals to an undefined large group of people or community (crowd) through an open call.”

Crowdsourcing can be applied for many challenges, for business needs but also for social and charity needs, like improving a city or matching people with skills with people in need.

Crowdsourcing is one of the children of the web evolution. While many people are starting to be saturated of social networks and the role they play in society, more and more you hear comments like, “Would be nice if we start to spend more real time together in stead of through social networks” “ Social networks are turning making people less social”. While I am not planning to make an article whether this is true or not, I believe that between many of the good things that digital social networks have brought is the possibility to do crowdsourcing.

In this post I will focus only on business driven web-based crowdsourcing, which is the type of crowdsourcing that uses the web to reach and coordinate both parties and where there is a business need behind motivated by economical reasons.

The process starts when a company has a challenge to solve; usually you would have needed to hire an employee, or may be a freelancer to resolve the tasks. That implies that you already would have access to a trusted network that gives you a sense of trust that the challenge will be successfully solved.

Crowdsourcing offers you instead that you involved the crowd to help solve your challenge. By getting a larger group of people you hope to get a better solution.

Some companies that use crowdsourcing for various purposes are:

  • Wikipedia, for information aggregation
  • Netflix for entertainment targeting
  • iStockphoto for photography
  • DuPont for R&D
  • Phillips for product improvement
  • Rabobank for start-ups and entrepreneurs

Some examples of web based companies that facilitate crowdsourcing

  • Redesignme:  tools that are used to engage customers, stimulate innovation and empower market research.
  • Crowspring: marketplace for logos and graphic design.
  • Dzinebox connection to Architects,Interior Designers and Landscape Architects.
  • 99 designs: identity design, web design, print design and graphic design. 

The Spanish versions of this last one are:

  • Awardesigns: , graphic design as in corporate image, logos, web, print, industrial design.
  • The brainstorm web, idem but including 3D design as well.
  • Adtriboo, idem but including spots, jingles and video clips.

Crowdsourcing can be great!

But remember crowdsourcing is not meant to get the cheapest best service ever, neither to exploit the masses, but it does optimize investments if you use it well.

Define a clear crowdsourcing strategy and don´t expect miracles are my recommendations.

This post is dedicated to Txell.


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