crowdsourcingCrowdsourcing is the process of getting work or funding, usually online, from a crowd of people. The word is a combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. The idea is to take work and outsource it to a crowd of workers. The principle of crowdsourcing is that more heads are better than one. By canvassing a large crowd of people for ideas, skills, or participation, the quality of content and idea generation will be superior.

As with any entity, there are different types of crowdsourcing.  For instance, crowdsource design is when you tell a crowd of designers what you want, how much you will pay, and give a specific deadline. All interested designers will create a finished design specifically for you. You’ll receive 50-300+ different finished logo designs, and you can keep whichever design you like the best. By doing design this way, crowdsourcing actually increases the quality and decreases the price, compared to online freelancing. Crowdsourcing can also be used to get designs for furniture, fashion, advertisements, video, & product design. Just about anything that can be designed can be crowdsourced.

Then, there is also crowdfunding. Crowdfunding involves asking a crowd of people to donate money to your project. For example, if you want to raise $10,000 to pay for studio time to record a new CD, crowdfunding can help you raise that money. You find a crowdfunding platform, set the goal amount, deadline, and any rewards offered to donors. Crowdfunding is mostly used by artists, charities, & start-ups to raise money for projects such as filming a documentary and cancer research.

Microtasking involves breaking work up into tiny tasks and sending the work to a crowd of people. If you have 1,000 photos on your website that need captions, you can ask 1,000 individual people to each add a caption to one photo. Break up the work and decide the payment for each completed task. With microtasking, you can expect to see results within minutes. Microtasking can involve tasks such as scanning images, proofreading, database correction and transcribing audio files. Work is done faster, cheaper, and usually with less errors.

Crowdsourcing’s biggest benefit is the ability to receive better quality results, since several people offer their best ideas, skills, and support. Crowdsourcing allows you to select the best result from a sea of ‘best entries,’ as opposed to receiving the best entry from a single provider. Results can be delivered much quicker than traditional methods, since crowdsourcing is a form of freelancing. You can get a finished video within a month, a finished design or idea within a week, and microtasks appear within minutes.

The future with regards to crowdsourcing is still somewhat unknown. Crowdsourcing is currently being explored as a business model. Undoubtedly, the notion of crowdsourcing is gaining popularity among innovation companies, government bodies, and research institutions, and has also received increasing attention in the media.

Source: What Can You Crowdsource?” Web. 23 June 2013 Marjanovic, Sonja. “Crowdsourcing Based Business Models.” Oxford Journals. Science and Public Policies, Web.

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