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November 2011 “Crowdsourcing Industry Landscape” Infographic

November 2011 “Crowdsourcing Industry Landscape” Infographic is pleased to present our November 2011 “Crowdsourcing Industry Landscape” infographic, which reflects our revised industry taxonomy and is aligned with's category structure. The infographic is available below; an ultra high-resolution version will be available for download from the site after CrowdConf2011.

In addition to updated site listings, this new version contains a number of important changes that reflect the current views of our research and editorial teams and input from our viewers. The previous taxonomy identified seven applications of crowdsourcing as well as a ‘Tools’ category — eight in total. After a period of considerable review, we’ve settled on six main categories of crowdsourcing.

"The whole purpose of creating the much needed crowdsourcing taxonomy is to provide a framework for the industry and to structure the discussion going forward,” says Carl Esposti, founder of “As with all taxonomies, it must evolve as it is reviewed and refined."

"Crowdsourcing isn’t a static phenomenon," Esposti continues. "This is the third generation of our taxonomy, which we first launched at CrowdConf2010."

(click on image to enlarge)

The infographic formerly included a category called ‘Collective Creativity’. The reason we initially named it 'Collective Creativity' was because there were collective forces at play, whether people were working on something together or feeding off each other’s work. The term 'collective' implied strongly that the output was most likely to be the result of a collective effort, however, which often wasn’t the case. After deliberation and input from the crowd, we decided to rename the category 'Crowd Creativity'.

For similar reasons, we also relabeled the ‘Collective Knowledge’ category. We think the term ‘Distributed Knowledge’ is better term. Knowledge exists in many places, and the role of crowdsourcing is as a tool to define what to collect and how to organize it.

We had two other categories that didn't fit well with the others: one was ‘Civic Engagement’ and the other was ‘Community Building’. The issue with 'Civic Engagement' was that it reflected the types of members within the communities and the organizations that participated but didn't capture a different application of crowdsourcing. Similarly, we felt that 'Community Building' was more of a byproduct, an element of all crowdsourcing models rather than the end goal - the reason why you engage in crowdsourcing.

If you are attending CrowdConf2011 this week (November 1-2 at San Francisco’s Mission Bay Conference Center), swing by our booth to grab your own copy of the updated infographic — we have hundreds of laminated, poster size prints to hand-out. We’re also looking for new editorial contributors and researchers to join the team, so if you’re interested in either of those opportunities, we encourage you to come by and meet the team.

Following the pre-conference workshops on Tuesday, November 1, on the main conference day Wednesday November 2, at 10:30am, founder Carl Esposti will present's research on enterprise cases of crowdsourcing: how can you take a "process view" of an enterprise in order to identify where the opportunities exist for crowdsourcing? Following that, at 11:00am to 11:30am, Esposti will lead a breakout session (in room #2). We hope to see you there!


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  • Guest Fondomat Dec 11, 2011 01:36 pm GMT

    Great work, thanks for including in this prestigious list!

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