CROWDSOURCING AND CROWDFEEDING
PARTECIPATORY INFORMATION MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS
Anahi Ayala Iacucci firstname.lastname@example.org
CROWDSOURCING: The act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call for action. Jeff Howe coined the term in June 2006 explaining that because technological advances have allowed for cheap consumer electronics, the gap between professionals and amateurs has been diminished.
ADVANTAGES OF USING CROWDSOURCING
during a crisis or for early warning systems is as important as food and water Affected communities know what is going on on the ground in real time *and* before professional responders The ability to collect information is limited by the availability of sources of information: more sources, more information Affected population get engaged in the process because they have an interest in the outcome Crowdsourcing is relatively cheaper than the use of selected monitoring teams Crowdsourcing allow for triangulation of information permitting verification and accountability
TYPOLOGIES OF CROWDSOURCING METHODS
crowd-sourcing: potentially all the people can report. This system allows for an unlimited number of information to come in, but lack in reliability of information. Bounded crowd-sourcing: the reporting is done by a specific trusted group. This system allows for verified information to come in but is subjected to the limitation of the limited source. Combined bounded and unbounded crowd-sourcing: information are collected by a specific group of people, but also by the crowd. Reliable sources and unreliable sources are combines. This system allows for:
increase in overall reporting II. Increase in the ability to validate reports from unknown sources
COMPONENTS OF A CROWDSOURCING PROJECT
ISSUE CROWD TOOLS ANALYSIS ACTION MONITORING
do you want the crowd to report to you about?
The topic needs to be relevant not to the collector of information only but to the crowd The topic needs to be precise, an issue that is as specific as possible and realistic You need to choose inside your topic the most relevant issues, the ones that are fundamental to design the response and guide the relative actions The crowdsourcing project needs to be related to a response and to have a goal. If it not related to a response then needs to have very clear explained objectives that re relevant to the crowd
What message will you use to ask the crowd to report to you?
The message has to be concise, brief and clear, (ideally less than 160 characters for distribution through SMS). In general, there are three options to ask for reports:
- asking to inform about the needs - asking to inform about the situation - if using a mapping tool, asking a location
The message needs to be spread through the most available local media: normally the best ones are local radio stations and local newspapers To make the message clear one idea could be to use anecdotes and stories to explain the system more easily The message needs to be reiterated over time and spread The public has to be informed about the means to report and the service. It is important to clearly specify who is running the service, how people should report, what they should report and how the information will be processed and utilized
WHY DOES THE CROWD CONTRIBUTE?
1. Share information: they want to get the information out, but they also want information back 2. Promote focussed action: they want to have a response to their specific problem 3. Make their lives better (specifically in the case of early warning systems)
What means will you use to collect information?
The means to collect information needs to be designed around the already existing information flow and taking into consideration the resources and capacity of the crowd For instance SMS is the best one if there is a network coverage that is spread through the country SMS Forms can be used if people have Java phones or smart phones If the literacy rate is low, then the best means will be voice mail, which allows people that don’t know how to write and read to report Internet based tools, like e-mails and web-submissions are suggested only if the Internet network is available If technology like mobile phones and internet are not available, then paper based forms can be used and then transferred into computer systems
THE COST OF REPORTING NEEDS TO BE CONSIDERED AS A VERY IMPORTANT VARIABLE!!
What is the information you collected telling you? Can you listen to the crowd?
Doing crowdsourcing means normally that you increase the quantity of information available to you to take decisions More information means also more difficulties in distinguishing in between the noise what are the relevant voices to listen to Analyzing the crowdsourced information is difficult but necessary People speak in terms of needs; organizations speak in terms of spreadsheets, datasets and percentages Tools used to do crowdsourcing normally don’t provide the analysis, this is something that the collector of information needs to do
will you use the information you gather from the crowd to better inform the decision making process?
Ones you do crowdsourcing you are taking the responsibility to act on the information you collect (if you don’t this needs to be VERY clear to the people you are asking to report to you) To better design your action you need to look carefully at the information you collect which may telling you something that is nor immediately visible form the rough data, hence the importance of analysis People don’t care about the overall situation, they care about their condition: if you don’t have the possibility to act on all situations reported, make this clear Managing expectations is a fundamental part of the success of a crowdsourcing project!!
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
Monitoring and evaluating a crowdsourcing project is fundamental to establish the effectiveness of the project, the impact and the possibility to replicate the project in other settings. To be able to monitor and evaluate a project there must be first of all a clear and stated objective: the goal is achieved by accomplishing a number of objectives; objectives are achieved by producing a set of outputs; and outputs are produced by implementing a series of activities—concrete events or services. If a given project has achieved the organization’s goal and objectives, then the project is considered successful. If an organization does not specify a goal and set of objectives, then the project cannot be evaluated —or worse, critics will define these themselves and publicly label the project a failure.
ANKIT SHARMA FROM THE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS (LSE) AUTHOR OF “CROWDSOURCING CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTOR MODEL”
Ankit Sharma highlights five peripheral factors that affect the motive alignment of the crowd which is the prime determinant of success of the crowdsourcing initiative, directly affecting user participation.
and Strategy: “The coherence of the initiative’s vision and strategy with the aspirations of the crowd ensures that the crowd is willing to participate in it.” Capital: The skills and abilities that the crowd possesses is a determinant of successful crowdsourcing. The more skillful and able the crowd is, “the less effort required by the crowd to make a meaningful contribution to the initiative.” “Crowdsourcing requires abundant, reliable and cheap telephone or mobile access for its communication needs in order to ensure participation of the crowd.”
and Trust: Crowdsourcing initiatives all involve a time or information cost for the crowd, which is why developing the trust factor is critical. Proper linkages can also “add a substantial trust aspect to the crowdsourcing initiative.” External environment: “The macroeconomic environment comprising of the governance support, business environment, economic environment, living environment and risk profiles are important determinants of the success of the crowdsourcing initiative.” alignment: “Motive alignment of the crowd may be defined as the extent to which crowd is able to associate with long term objective of crowdsourcing initiative thereby encouraging its wider participation.” The table below explains how the peripheral factors effect the motive alignment of the crowd.”
the need for the crowd to share information with the crowd, ie, not top-down, or bottom-up, but information from the crowd, for the crowd; horizontal communication. The act of sharing information out to a large group of people or community, through an open sharing system. In the same time for the international community it means to share all available information with all stakeholders to allow better decisions to be taken and better actions to be implemented.
populations are the first responders on the ground so the more they know, the better they respond increase resilience and is the base for preparedness Crowd is always there
sharing is the base for a coordinated meaningful response population normally knows what to do and has local copying mechanisms
WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND IN DOING CROWDFEEDING
information back to the crowd needs to be done in an accessible way: SMS if internet not available or local radio stations response mechanism needs to be designed by taking into consideration that the local population can and will respond inside a crowdsourcing project can be a very powerful incentive for people to report can present risks in environments characterized by instability and tension
HOW TO USE CROWDSOURCING AND WHAT TO BE AWARE OF
CROWDSOURCING IS NOT PERFECT METHODOLOGY AND IT IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY CROWDSOURCING AND CROWDFEEDING PROJECTS NEED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THE IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO START WITH A SMALL PROJECT AND THEN SCALE UP THAN THE CONTRARY NEVER CHOOSE A TOOL AND THEN DECIDE WHAT TO USE IT FOR CROWDSOURCING CAN BE COMBINED WITH OTHER METHODOLOGIES
RISK AND PROBLEMES OF CROWDSOURCING SYSTEMS
ERIFICATION V TRUCTURE S MPACT I USTAINABILITY S
PROBLEM: when you do unbounded crowdsourcing you don’t know who is the source of your information. The risk is to receive and use false or bias information that can affect your work and credibility. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Verification can be crowdsourced too (ex. OpenStreet Map and Ushahidi) New systems to triangulate information and create reliability scores (ex. Swift River) Bound and Unbound crowdsourcing is for now the best solution (ex. Uchaguzi)
PROBLEM: people think that a good tool is enough to make a good project. This is not the case: a tool is only a tool, a good project is much more than that. POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Planning and strategy design need to be always the first step of a project Crowdsourcing is not immune to its own principle: the best crowdsourcing project is the one managed by the involved population Sustainability and integration with local systems need to be always taken into consideration
is power, so if you share information you are sharing power. Crowdsourcing projects cannot be detached by their political implications. Crowdsourcing projects are bi-directional projects: the crowd will always modify and affect the project as much as the project will modify and affect the crowd. Crowdsourcing projects to be effective need to be adapted to the existing flow of information and information management systems existing in the environment where they are implemented.
PROBLEM: If running a long term crowdsourcing project the big problem is how to make it sustainable. Will people keep reporting on that issue? POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: Try to have a free reporting system (have a free short code or phone number from phone companies)
reimbursements to people that reports Non-monetary incentives; like SMS “reward” information like sending latest sports scores, latest headlines, etc Make people willing to report, because they can see the results
the crowd and be ready to adapt your platform to the crowd needs
Anahi Ayala Iacucci, Towards the definition of a Crowdsourcing M&E framework, Diary of a Crisis Mapper, May 17 2010 Ankit Sharma, Crowdsourcing Critical Success Factor Model, May 2010 Jaroslav Valuch, Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities, November 2010 Patrick Meier, Measuring Success in Ushahidi Deployments, Ushahidi Blog, June 17, 2010 Patrick Meier, The Crowd is Always There: A Marketplace for Crowdsourcing Crisis Response, iRevolution, August 14, 2010 Patrick Meier, How to Run a Successful Crowdsourcing Project, iRevolution, May 5, 2010
Anahi Ayala Iacucci email@example.com