What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a ‘crowd’ or group for a common goal — often innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. It is powered by new technologies, social media and web 2.0. Crowdsourcing can take place on many different levels and across various industries. Thanks to our growing connectivity, it is now easier than ever for individuals to collectively contribute — whether with ideas, time, expertise, or funds — to a project or cause. This collective mobilization is crowdsourcing.

It is a process of tapping in to individuals or groups of people, paid or unpaid who are linked together with a common interest to bring forward powerful, increased results through their aggregated actions or activities. “Source” derives from the Latin word “surgere,” to rise or lift.

This phenomenon can provide organizations with access to new ideas and solutions, deeper consumer engagement, opportunities for co-creation, optimization of tasks, and reduced costs. The Internet and social media have brought organizations closer to their stakeholders, laying the groundwork for new ways of collaborating and creating value together like never before. The approach is being embraced:

“Crowds are a hit. Millions of people, connected by the Internet, are contributing ideas and information to projects big and small. Crowdsourcing, as it is called, is helping to solve tricky problems and providing localized information. And with the right knowledge, contributing to the crowd — and using its wisdom — is easier than ever.” The New York Times

Changing Environments – Social Media turns into Social Productivity

The future is human-centric, all about participation and the ability to co-create via an increasingly connected world. This new way of doing things – crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, co-creation, collaboration, and open innovation – is challenging business models and workings of organizations across the board, offering an immense opportunity to rethink and reinvent conventional processes.

Where Can Crowdsourcing Be Applied?

Crowdsourcing touches across all social and business interactions. It is changing the way we work, hire, research, make and market. Governments are applying crowdsourcing to empower citizens and give a greater voice to the people. In science and health care, crowdsourcing can democratize problem solving and accelerate innovation. With education, it has the potential to revolutionize the system, just as crowdfunding is currently challenging traditional banking and investing processes. It’s a 21st-century mindset and approach that can be applied in many areas and many ways to:

How Crowdsourcing Helps Manufacturers Innovate

The novelty of using crowdsourcing for innovation is not a new one. In fact, a few years back, one of Crowdsourcing Week's own featured writers, Marcus Barber, talked about how the future of manufacturing was upon us, and that crowdsourcing could potentially be a huge...

Customer Collaboration and Co-creation Help Businesses Tackle Covid-19 Setbacks

In many countries, the hospitality industry shutdown during the pandemic lockdowns has caused the potential closure of many suppliers. This is particularly true for those that relied on business-to-business sales, where a number of enterprises have embraced...

Crowdsourced Open Innovation Accelerated a Covid-19 Ventilator Solution

It is widely acknowledged that collective intelligence delivers better solutions compared to a limited number of team members working on an innovation project. However, what is not talked about enough is the effect of this open model on the innovation process...

Reimagining Learning: Hauling Education in to the 21st Century

Covid-19 has created an opportunity for students from elementary-age to graduate school to benefit from crowdsourcing and online classes. What does that mean for the future? Education is a marketplace. Schools, colleges, and universities provide a physical interface...

Citizen Scientists Continue to Boost Valuable Ecological Research

A wide range of ecological projects based on crowdsourced Citizen Science models are now being undertaken around the world, at local, national and international scales. The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, established in 1976, has been running for decades though its...

In Transparency We Trust: Why Transparency and Trust Are Crucial for Crowdsourcing

Have you heard about Edelman Trust Barometer? This is a popular trust and credibility survey conducted annually by Edelman Intelligence, a global insight and analytics consultancy. The 2020 edition of the Barometer says that none of the four major societal...
  • Accelerate Innovation
  • Share Ideas
  • Reinvent Business Models
  • Co-Create
  • Engage Consumers or Citizens
  • Reinvent Work Models
  • Save Cost
  • Increase Efficiency
  • Reinvent Financial Models

What can be crowdsourced? The short answer is, a collaborative or crowd-centric approach can be applied to everything. But here are just a few areas where it has had significant impact and huge potential:

  • Enterprise
  • Education
  • Government
  • IT
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Marketing
  • Science & Health
  • Social Enterprise & NonProfit

CROWDSOURCING & THE FUTURE DYNAMICS OF BUSINESS

So how can this phenomenon work for organizations? Crowdsourcing as a work model, financial model, and business model are here to stay. Leveraging collaborative practices and tools leads to disruptive business implications and transformative innovations. If existing enterprise are not prepared to adapt and embrace this new opportunity, they will be disrupted. Knowledge and understanding of collaborative business practices will be a required skill for C-level suite executives and entrepreneurs.

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