What is Crowdsourcing?

Process of Crowdsourcing

Broadcast about crowdsourcing and the crowdsourcing event “Brain Twister” in Graz on Ö1 aired on November 30th, 2010 (04:54).

The term “crowdsourcing” was first used by Jeff Howe in the magazine Wired in 2006. It refers to using knowledge and skills from a large number of people on the internet to solve specific or open-ended questions.
Open Innovation is a type of crowdsourcing used to solve specific tasks within companies or institutions. Usually one task is assigned to a certain network of internet users. The users can work alone or in groups on assigned tasks and then are able to submit their ideas. These tasks involve the creation of innovative solutions as well as the modification or adaptation of existing products and services.
On platforms or websites, which are mostly available for free on the web, more and more creative types are getting together to work on different tasks. With the help of voting mechanism users, consumers and customers select the best ideas. That means that the community itself decides on the ranking of ideas. People who are looking for ideas therefore receive ideas that have already been pre-selected by potential customers (= analysis of trends). The best ideas will then be rewarded with money or non-cash prizes. Integrating the people who submitted their ideas into the implementation phase is not only possible – it makes sense.

Modern information technologies (Web 2.0) now allow that which was impossible only a few years ago. Successful platforms such as Wikipedia, Google or Facebook show how much energy and knowledge is provided within internet communities. The usage of social networks and issue-oriented platforms contains a great potential. This potential is based on an important characteristic of the resource “knowledge”: As soon as knowledge is shared, it multiplies! This is especially important for freelancers and the self-employed but also for employees of companies.

Idea platforms offer new possibilities to collaborate and implement ideas, in a way that would be difficult or impossible for a single person. Therefore, crowdsourcing is interesting not only for large companies, but also for smaller companies and startups that are looking for like-minded people to implement their ideas.

Useful Links:


Jeff Howe about Crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing Video

Jeff Howe article in Wired-Magazine 2006

The Wisdom of Crowds (Wiki-Entry)
Crowdsourcing (Wiki-Entry

Blog from Jeff Howe
Blog about Crowdsourcing

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