Crowdsourcing is a new term for an old concept. It is an innovative way to collect large sums of small amounts of money from many people to finance projects, develop ideas and gain input into decisions. In the business world, it’s been used to fund startups or simply to find new ideas.
In the commercial sphere, crowdsourcing has often been seen as a type of marketing strategy that appeals directly to consumers through word-of-mouth advertising; this idea was popularized by Proctor & Gamble’s “Talk with your Mouth” campaign in 2007. Fintalent’s crowdsourcing consultants also observe that it can also be used in other ways as well such as providing market research data or information on customer preferences and interests.
What is Crowdsourcing?
The term crowdsourcing is a portmanteau of crowd and outsourcing. Crowdsourcing involves outsourcing tasks, typically involving discrete units of work, to an undefined public using human-Internet interfaces. Crowdsourcing also refers to the practice of taking a function once performed by employees within a company (or in-house) and outsourcing it to an undefined public using human-Internet interfaces. Facebook uses crowdsourcing to allow users to contribute entries for its online dictionary on the site’s “OSNAP!” button, which provides definitions for words or phrases if one is not already available on their interface.
Crowdsourcing is sometimes confused with open innovation, crowdsourcing, however, is not a synonym of open innovation. Crowdsourcing is an online and distributed approach to innovation. While open innovation may occur in crowdsourced projects, it also encompasses more traditional means of business R&D such as corporate venturing and strategic alliances.
Crowdsourcing “involves the aggregation of information from the crowd to provide solutions for problems that have been identified by a client or sponsor.” The information provided by the crowd is most commonly in the form of ideas. However, these ideas can be further developed by other participants through peer collaboration or by receiving funding from a sponsor to create a final product or service. Crowdsourcing has been used in the creation of products and services within a wide array of industries, including transportation, software development, journalism, animation, gaming and hardware.
What Makes Crowdsourcing Special?
What makes crowdsourcing so special is that there are so many different ways that you can use it today. You can find many different types of tasks for both individuals and groups of people. Tasks to be completed by teams with specific expertise. Crowdsourcing may also include finding solutions for specific tasks, such as writing product descriptions, as well as identifying and tagging images on the Internet.
Tasks that will involve a large number of people. This could be a team project, where you need to find a way to boost your sales or maybe you have an idea that requires a lot of ideas or inputs from others.
Tasks to be completed by people who have certain skills and knowledge. Crowdsourcing not only can involve finding the best person for the job but also taps into many different resources from around the world. This means that you are not limited to a local community or area.
The success of crowdsourced projects depends on the motivations of participants who voluntarily provide contributions to a crowdsourced project. There are several factors motivation can be broken down into: intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation and amotivation. Intrinsic motivation is when participants participate in crowdsourcing activities because they enjoy doing so or find it interesting/enjoyable. Extrinsic motivation is when participants are driven by external rewards such as money or course credit. Amotivation is when participants join a crowdsourced project because it is required by their institution, they have nothing better to do, or they don’t know what else to do.
Benefits of Crowdsourcing
There are several benefits of crowdsourcing projects, including: low cost, access to expertise and using “the wisdom of the crowd” (the idea that collective input can result in better decisions than a single expert). Crowdsourcing also has disadvantages such as: possible lack of quality and credibility because there are no guarantees that those providing input are often experts or authorities; the fact that crowdsourced content may not be original (it may plagiarize already existing material), and potential legal issues if participants from a different country are involved.
Types of Crowdsourcing
There are several types of crowdsourcing projects, which include commodity-based and application-based, and their projects tend to be driven by their specific goals and audience.
Commodity-based crowdsourcing is often used for fundraising or promoting a cause such as charity websites or fundraising sites. These websites allow users to create content such as logos, background images or slogans for use on marketing materials (such as T shirts or tumblers). On these sites an organization can then solicit this created content from donors. Since the content is created through users it may not always be quality or legal; however, the sites do maintain some control over the quality of the material as they receive donated content and must maintain a database of all donated material.
Commodity-based projects are mostly driven by the need of organization to generate revenue and do not necessarily have a long term goal in mind. Since these websites are driven by users there is no guarantee that the user or organization is intended to benefit from the material being produced. These types of crowdsourcing can also be used as components in larger applications, so that users can produce content for a larger project such as marketing materials.
Application-based crowdsourcing is often used for fundraising and branding, however this type of crowdsourcing has been used in other fields such as software development and education. In these cases the goal of application-based crowdsourcing may differ from commodity-based campaigns and organizations try to identify exact uses for their material. On these sites users create content for specific projects. Some application-based sites allow users to gain more control of their content such as having the ability to change the settings or make the material private (such as allowing donors to donate funds instead of creating content).
Crowdsourcing approaches (and some types of crowdsourcing) also help organizations and individuals to try new things and new things that not put together by themselves. While it might be something easy, it can also be challenging enough for someone who has everything else in control of his life. Crowdsourcing can open a channel between people that would never meet each other otherwise.
Crowdsourcing is an essential way to tap into the expertise of an ever-growing group of individuals, through both virtual and real environments. It serves as a great solution for companies that want to benefit from the knowledge and resources of so many individuals from around the world. It is also a good idea for those who are looking for new business ideas or ideas that spread throughout the world. With this in mind, crowdsourcing has proven to be a viable solution for businesses large and small alike.