Harnessing the power of crowdsourcing

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SummaryThe term crowdsourcing has caught the imagination of all netizens around the world over the last few years.

The term crowdsourcing has caught the imagination of all netizens around the world over the last few years. The concept of crowdsourcing itself is not new, what is exciting is its potential to deliver scalable, real time and global impact due to the confluence with digital technologies. The examples of running competitions to tap into great ideas and TV shows like American Idols connecting with audiences real time for better engagement and involvement leading upto social media such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Picasa heralding a new era of sharing feedbacks, emotions, thoughts and ideas on every subject under the sun are all pointers to the evolving models of crowdsourcing.

We have also experienced in recent times the use of social media in the western world like the election campaign of Barrack Obama in the US, the Arab Spring in the world closer to us and the little known political party in its nascent stage in India catapulting to centre stage by rallying people around some of the key issues haunting them for decades. Thus we have begun to see a new era where digital technology is no longer viewed as just enabling a platform for accessing content of one’s choice but by virtue of various stakeholders coming together on the same platform is seen as enabling dialogue, innovation and solutions through crowdsourcing—hitherto inconceivable—but now leading to outcomes, many of which have potential to make a transformational impact.

The principle behind crowdsourcing is to invite people to share their ideas and thoughts and participate in co creation of products and services or find solutions to problems. Sometimes this is done free of cost depending upon the nature of task to be performed and their perceived significance and at times this is done for a monetary consideration. It is possible to evaluate options transparently—be they for funding, designing or for tapping into knowledge or wisdom of people on a given subject. The challenge is not just in inviting attention to the projects requiring crowd participation, it is more to do with ensuring that quality minds get attracted and are willing to spend time.

There are several successful examples of crowdsourcing such as Amazon Mechnical Turk, Utest, Innocentive that have been able to deliver services to their end customers on the strength of their ability to tap into the right resources. There have been also good cases of fund raising for business, charity and creative

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