Is It Really Intelligent To Use Crowdsourcing?


Crowdsourcing is the new buzz word today. The word is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. Coined by Jeff Howe in 2006,the idea of crowd-sourcing is to take work and outsource it to a crowd. It illustrates the emerging portents of outsourcing of several activities by companies to an indeterminate large group of people on the Internet, across global locations.

While crowdsourcing, the principle is that more heads are better than one, and that by canvassing a large crowd of people for participation, the quality of content and ideas will be superior. In the past, this method has been limited to the computing sector, but now it tends to cater to a wider range of sectors.

But, Does Crowdsourcing Give A Realistic Picture?

To begin with, crowd sourcing was made possible because of four developments:

1)    The rise of the amateur class; the energy and devotion of the amateur comprises fuel for the crowdsourcing engine

2)    The rise of a mode of production; open source software, provides inspiration and practical direction

3)    The proliferation of the internet and cheap tools; consumers now have a power that was once restricted to companies endowed with vast capital resources, and

4)    The evolution of online communities; they were able to organize people into economically productive units.

Further, crowd-sourcing helps overcome the disadvantages of out-sourcing such as lag due to poor connectivity, within an identified group of people, restricted to a facility and available only during work hours and higher overheads.

In addition, crowdsourcing offers the following advantages –

Global access: Workers can access and share informationfrom anywhere around the world, rather than being in a geographical location or linguistic enterprise

- Availability: Contributors are available at any time, workers schedule their own work, whereas outsourcing workers have to execute based on the facilities in shifts to meet customer requirements

- Access to breadth of talent: A community development approach makes your life easier when it comes to ensure that you have access to the talent needed, when you are in need of it

No Overhead costs: With traditional model, a location, real estate lease, hiring staff and training them lead to lot of cost, all of which is avoided in crowd sourcing

Eliminating single point of failure: Delays and negative impacts in productivity on an individual level steer up costs and extending the projects period in the outsourcing model, a drawback which is managed by crowd-souring instead

Crowdsourcing therefore, is clearly the way forward. Here are a few well known examples of collective intelligence:

EteRNA is an online game where contestants design RNA structures (the building blocks of life) and collect various biological patterns from the online users. The main principle of this crowd sourcing science project is to create first of its kind large scale library and maintain synthetic RNA designs which can help wipe out diseases in the future. This is important because there are times when non – biologists and even the unscientific mind can see patterns that can escape from the eyes of a scientist. 

Social Attire is a website that invites fashion designers to display their design and sketches. Potential clients and other designers vote and comment on the participant’s submissions over a period of two – weeks. The design or sketch which receives high votes is then showcased for sale. This platform enables clients receive stylish original dresses and ideas whereas the designers get an exposure to the fashion world with an income to earn.

7 Billion Ideas helps you pin down your idea without losing it. This is a crowd sourced collection of flashbulb moments from around the world. The main objective of this site is to capture various ideas, so that they are archived stay secured. The aim of this website is to achieve the goal of 7 billion ideas. There are 17798 so far.

In conclusion, crowd sourcing can reduce costs and group individuals across different platforms, as its applications emerge to be quite far-reaching. While companies strive to get greater insight from clients, crowd sourcing has become a valuable tool in collecting real-time data from millions of users. The work completed through crowdsourcing can be paid or unpaid. One of the most popular unpaid and useful crowd sourcing projects is the website “Wikipedia”. It gets insight and information for array of topics from individuals across the globe.

We have seen that crowdsourcing has helped communities to innovate creatively while streamlining their processes. Focusing on operational excellence, it could enable successful production of innovative products, within the constraints of the community. Crowdsourcing will help identify experts inside the organization and prepare them to become the next generation thought leaders.