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What is crowdsourcing

How crowdsourcing came about
The author of the term “crowdsourcing” is Jeff Howe, who introduced it into circulation in 2006. Then he, together with publisher Mark Robinson, published an article in which he described the principle of crowdsourcing and gave examples. In this article, crowdsourcing was compared to outsourcing to a greater extent, and the emphasis was on their differences: outsourcing is based on the completion of certain tasks by specialists for a monetary remuneration, and crowdsourcing involves the execution of work mainly by amateurs and without any monetary payment (or purely symbolic).

Crowdsourcing was first used by I Stock Photo, which has become one of the most successful photo banks in history. While other photo banks provided users with photos for $ 100-150 per download, then I Stock Photo could download a photo for only $ 1, and the choice of photos was much wider. The question arises, “What does crowdsourcing have to do with it?” The fact is that all these photos were uploaded to the site by ordinary users on a purely voluntary basis.

Further, a lot of materials about crowdsourcing were published, one of the most famous is an article in Sloan Management Review magazine in 2011. It is authored by two professors (teaching in Japan and Germany) who have explored in depth how the use of crowdsourcing can positively influence the work of large organizations. They presented their conclusions in the form of a laconic description of the activities of two companies, which, using crowdsourcing, significantly increased their efficiency.

Crowdsourcing mechanism
The principle of crowdsourcing itself is very simple: a group of stakeholders is given a certain task (most often this is done via the Internet), then those who have completed this task offer their options for its implementation to the customer, who in turn considers them, selects the most optimal ones and then implements them in their activities.

Benefits of crowdsourcing
So, by using crowdsourcing, you give yourself the ability to:

1) involve a lot of people from all over the world in your project. The number of employees of any company is always limited, and with the help of crowdsourcing, you can attract a huge number of talented people around the world to perform the required task;

2) monitor the progress of the task. Crowdsourcing allows you to optimally distribute the load and, if necessary, resort to using auxiliary resources;

3) find and engage in the work of rare outstanding specialists. It often happens that crowdsourcing involves those specialists who, under other conditions, simply would not have the opportunity to take part in a specific task for various reasons. For example, a person works in the economic sphere, but in fact his vocation is design. He is able to brilliantly perform tasks related to the development of design, but for one reason or another did not find a permanent job in this area. This is what the company needs, which attracts talented designers (albeit not quite professional ones) to complete the task;

4) get many options for completing one task and choose the best one. Whereas if this work was done by a full-time employee of your company, you would only get one option (at best, several, but not thousands);

5) get options for the completed assignment in a clearly defined period of time. Most often, crowdsourcing involves solving the set goals within a certain time frame. This allows you not to delay the execution of the task indefinitely.

Types of crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing can be categorized according to the areas where it is used and the types of tasks it performs. Areas in which crowdsourcing is used – business, politics, social and public sphere.

What is crowdsourcing 1) Business crowdsourcing. This is perhaps the most common type of crowdsourcing, since it is in the business sphere that tasks most often arise, when choosing solutions for which it is best to rely not on a single option, but on their many, and choose the best one. Examples of crowdsourcing in business: developing a slogan for an advertising campaign, developing a cover design for a music album, etc.

2) Social and social crowdsourcing. This type of crowdsourcing relies on the solution of any problems related to socially significant issues and the social life of people. Projects related to the search for missing people, the construction of a kindergarten or other facility by joint efforts, or various charitable projects are all social crowdsourcing.

3) Political crowdsourcing. Projects related to clarifying opinions about certain actions of the state fall into this category. Usually this type of crowdsourcing is done in voting mode.

Tasks that can be completed through crowdsourcing:

1. Creation of content or product.
2. Search for the optimal solution to any issue.
3. Search for missing people.
4. Collection and processing of information.

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