This pages provides an overview of what crowdsourcing is about and is updated regularly. Let’s start with two definitions of crowdsourcing. 1.The White Paper Version: Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call. 2.The Soundbyte Version: The application of Open Source principles to fields outside of software. The work is compensated with little or no pay in most cases. However, in a few examples the labor is well-compensated. In almost every case crowdsourcing relies on amateurs or volunteers working in their spare time to create content, solve problems, or even do corporate R&D. The second definition doesn’t cover the whole idea of crowdsourcing, but the analogy with Open Source Software (OSS) is interesting. In the context of OSS people who may not know each other work together online to create complex software such as the Linux kernel, and the Firefox browser. But in the OSS model, everybody gets benefits for the global contribution. In recent years internet technology has evolved to allow nontechnical people to participate in online projects, so the OSS idea can be extended to fields outside of software. Crowdsourcing is an example where The Long Tail plays an important part. Each member of the crowd puts forth an insignificant contribution to the total outcome, but the grand total of these contributions amounts to a considerable difference. This technique highly useful in products and ideas the lay person can contribute with. Large amounts of data and contributions are needed to come up with meaningful improvements that represent the collective desire. Sophisticated and educated people are required to crowdsource for highly technical products and services, which puts limitations on the usages and applicability of this method.
The FLIRT-model of crowdsourcing
Sami Viitamäki of the Helsinki School of Economics has built a model for crowdsourcing: the FLIRTmodel.
Examples of crowdsourcing
• Procter & Gamble employs more than 9000 scientists and researchers in corporate R&D and still have many problems they cannot solve. They now post these on a website called InnoCentive, offering large cash rewards to
more than 90,000 “solvers” who make up this network of backyard scientists. P&G also works with NineSigma, YourEncore and Yet2. • YRUHRN used Amazon Mechanical Turk and other means of crowdsourcing to compile content for a book published just 30 days after the project was started. iStockphoto is a website with over 22,000 amateur photographers who upload and distribute stock photographs. Because it is not burdened by the expenses of a professional organization like Getty Images it is able to sell photos for a lower price. It was recently purchased by Getty Images. • Cambrian House applies a crowdsourcing model to identify and develop profitable software ideas. Using a simple voting model, they attempt to find sticky software ideas that can be developed using a combination of internal and crowdsourced skills and effort. • A Swarm of Angels is a project to utilize a swarm of subscribers (Angels) to help fund, make, contribute, and distribute, a £1 million feature film using the Internet and all digital technologies. It aims to recruit earlier development community members with the right expertise into paid project members, film crew, and production staff. • The Goldcorp Challenge is an example of how a traditional company in the mining industry used a crowdsource to identify likely veins of gold on its Red Lake Property. The challenge was won by Fractal Graphics and Taylor-Wall and Associates of Australia by identifying 110 drilling targets, 50% of which were new to the company. • Marketocracy, to isolating top stock market investors around the world in head to head competition so they can run real mutual funds around these soon-to-be-discovered investment super-stars. Threadless, an Internet-based clothing retailer that sells t-shirts which have been designed by and rated by its users. • Public Insight Journalism, A project at American Public Media to cover the news by tapping the collective and specific intelligence of the public. Gets the newsroom beyond the usual sources, uncovers unexpected expertise, stories and new angles. ESP Game, people to collaborating in labelling images. • Wired and NewAssignment have launched a “pro-am” collaboration called Assignment Zero that allows citizen journalists to work with professional editors on a story, with the team’s research available for re-use.
Crowdfunding: open business models
Board of Innovation
This article provides basic information explaining and illustrating crowdsourcing.
An easy read that will let you know what crowdsourcing is, and explains it with good examples.