What is crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is a participatory function which involves large group of people to contribute towards common goal often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency in form of ideas, expertise, funds for a project, cause or organisation. The practice is prevalent since 1800’s but flourished only after the internet.
In 2021, crowdsourcing is mainly attracting large group of people to achieve a common goal by an organisation using the internet.
For example, Google crowdsources to enhance the efficiency of its machine learning. Machine learning is a technique that allows the computer to acquire skills or learn beyond basic machine knowledge. This knowledge is provided by people. For instant showing various images of a car teaches the machine how to recognise all sorts of car in a picture. The process is done via crowdsourcing. A large group of people contribute by verifying image labels, determining the best responses & providing accurate data to the machine. This helps apps like google photos, google lens to function in an efficient manner.
A crowdsourcer is the large group of people as mentioned in the crowdsourcing definition consisting of individuals with varying knowledge, heterogeneity, & number who brings experience, towards variable complex and modular tasks proposed by the organisation. A crowdsourcer solves the problems for a better user experience.
How does crowdsourcing work
There are many methods of crowdsourcing. Currently, organisations prefer online methods with advantage of attracting larger mass of people. Internet provides a beneficial value for crowdsourcing since individuals tend to be more open without being judged physically or scrutinized, thus increasing comfortably level in sharing.
There are two ways of how does crowdsourcing work as follow:
- Explicit Approach
Explicit crowdsourcing lets users work together to evaluate, share, and build different specific tasks. Users can evaluate particular items like books or webpages, or share by posting products or items. Users can also build artefacts by providing information and editing other people’s work.
- Implicit Approach
implicit crowdsourcing means that users solve a problem as a side effect of something else they are doing. It can take two forms: standalone and piggyback. Standalone allows people to solve problems as a side effect of the task they are actually doing, whereas piggyback takes users’ information from a third-party website to gather information.
Crowdsourcing further contribute organisations in two problem based typologies:
Information management problems
- When organisations mobilize a crowd to find and assemble information. For example, in collecting resourceful information for a company.
- When organisations mobilize a crowd to help analyse the information they already have. For example, processing data that a computer cannot do easily.
- When organisations mobilize a crowd to find a solution to objective problems. For example, when a google photo asks yes or no while image scanning.
- When organisations mobilize a crowd to find a solution to subjective problems. For example, what design, the aesthetic user would recommend.
Benefits of crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing helps in improved costs as companies don’t have to hire new employers, innovators, designers etc. It saves tedious process like brainstorming, validating from managers etc. Companies saves operation costs like training, paying employee salary, housing costs etc.
Crowdsourcing increases number of people working towards a common goal than fewer people of company working on their projects. Speed of process increases with number. The impact is greater. Steps like manager validation, brainstorming, constant challenges of workplace distraction are not a part of it, therefore increasing speed of the process.
Larger manpower working on projects helps in micromanagement. People tend to notice faults on their individual level adding dimensions to the projects. Thus increasing in quality result.
The fact that companies outsource work to an unidentified network of people results in true feedbacks. Individuals tend to be more motivated particularly in web-based projects here they are not being physically judged or scrutinised, thus increasing the level of comfortability which results in true feedback.
Crowdsourcing increases scalability to the business. The workforce working are remote workers who comes with flexibility, adaptability. Organisations can scale out remote workers into smaller portions of projects accordingly.
Crowdsourcing comes with diversity and inclusion. Diversity in workers results in increased perspectives, added value, variations, cultural sensitivity, insights, local knowledge, higher quality, targeted or niche market insights etc.
Examples of Crowdsourcing
- Research companies like Gallup, Gartner crowdsource for various researches they carry out on daily basis. Employees’ at Gallup or Gartner are not emotionally connected with their day to day work or company.
- Open source software allows developers to access source code, permitting them to modify codes as they see fit. For example, Linux operating system which invites programmers around the world to contribute code
- Wikipedia is an example of crowdsourcing which allows free access of information over the internet which can be added & modified by the people over web.
- Toyota’s first dream car contest. Children around the world were asked to draw their dream car of the future. It was a marketing strategy which leveraged crowdsourcing.
- Raising capital. It’s a technique also called crowdfunding. This technique allows anyone from an individual to a large company to engage people who are interested in their ideas and raise capital without pitching to large investors, banks, or other gatekeepers that could withhold funding. Some examples of successful products that began as crowdfunded projects include the Oculus headset, Tile, and the Pebble Watch.
- MicroWorkers: for micro-tasks, like completing surveys, signing up for websites, or tasks like downloading files.
- Amazon mechanical Turk or mTurk: By Amazon it allows companies or entrepreneurs to ask for “Human Intelligence Tasks” (HITs). Amazon Mechanical Turk performs tasks like answering surveys, commenting on blogs, rewriting, image labelling etc.
- crowdSPRING: The user signs up as a buyer and gets over 100 entries for a single project.
- oDesk.com: This platform helps to find profiles as varied as web developers, software and development designers, information systems specialists, proficient translators, writers, and even administrative support members.
- Elance: A platform with a wide range of talents: mobile app designers, data scientists, content writers, SEO specialists. User can post a job and request interviews. You don’t have to pay before the job is completed, but there is a minimum of $20 for one project.
- 99Designs is an artistic platform, more focused on graphic design than product design. These types of crowdsourcing sites allow you to develop a new brand, logo, website, or packaging. You simply create a design brief on the platform, choose from one of the 4 packages that the platforms offer, and then your project is turned into a contest between more than 1 million professionals. You choose the winner, and they win the prize. You can provide feedback on the design you’ve chosen: unlimited revisions are part of every plan.