The term “crowdsourcing” was originally coined by “Wired Magazine” writer Jeff Howe in 2006 and is a combination of the words “outsourcing” and “crowd”. Outsourcing traditionally describes transferring work processes from your own company to an external service provider in order to use the economies of scale involved and minimize costs. A crowd generally describes a large number of individuals who form a community.
The principle therefore describes a process in which companies outsource parts of their work processes and fall back on a community of thousands of people (the crowd) instead of individual service providers. Companies, so to speak, work with the “intelligence of the masses”. Individual persons who participate in the crowd are called crowd workers or clickworkers often registered on crowdsourcing platforms.
Crowdsourcing works with or without payment. The best-known example of a project in which crowd workers are not paid is the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. It is a crowdsourcing platform everyone can work with and everyone can complement or change. But crowdsourcing is not only divided in regard to finances but also in regard to its different types and application areas.
Crowdsourcing Platforms – Main Types
Crowdtesting is inviting and receiving feedback from a subset of your target audience to identify issues or problems with a product (often apps and websites). This gives you more visibility into how the product is being used and what challenges the audience may be having when interacting with your product (including technical bugs or usability issues with apps and websites).
Crowdfunding is a type of crowdsourcing that allows individuals to pool their money and resources in order to help fund the production or development of creative projects. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe are all crowdfunding platforms that allow individuals to fundraise for their projects. Crowdfunding is an effective means of raising money because it leverages the power of social networks and communities
Collaborative knowledge is the idea that information should be shared in an open and accessible way. It is a term often used when referring to large groups of people such as researchers, students, and members of a community.
Collaborative knowledge in crowdsourcing is the use of a collective intelligence approach to form and solve problems. It relies on using human participation as well as input from different sources, such as social media platforms.
Open Innovation is a form of collaboration that aims to bring together diverse stakeholders and build new solutions for problems by expanding the traditional boundaries between business sectors. The most common type of open innovation is between firms and organizations that offer complementary capabilities.
Open innovation in crowdsourcing is the process of engaging diverse, external people in order to generate new ideas and solutions. Open innovation relies on a team or community approach so that different perspectives and knowledge can be shared.
Creative Crowdsourcing Platforms
Creative and design crowdsourcing involves soliciting feedback from a large group of people to develop ideas, products or services. Creative crowdsourcing can include anything such as websites, apps, or even video games. In addition, the creative crowd is also used to create graphic designs such as logos, brochures, advertising material, etc.
Microtasking is a type of crowdsourcing where individual tasks are assigned to small groups. Microtaskers can either be individuals or an organization that divides the work amongst its members. Microtasking is often used for tasks that require small individual steps, like writing a blog post or doing research.
When it comes to microjobbing or microtasking very small tasks, so-called microtasks, are offered to a large group of Internet users. In most of the cases these microtasks result out of a major project that has been divided into many similar subtasks.
The crowd is always a good choice whenever companies have to handle a larger number of tasks in a relatively short period of time. The use of the crowd makes a large number of workers available on demand without creating any overhead costs. Therefore, when demand is irregular, a company can make use of the manpower of thousands of workers on a flexible basis.
It goes without saying that the crowd is best used for tasks that are easily divided into individual microtasks and then reassembled to a convincing overall result after completion. In addition, the task that is being outsourced must not require any profound knowledge of your own product or company. This is essential to ensure that a sufficient number of qualified workers are available to implement the project in a short period of time and provide satisfactory results.
How does crowdsourcing work at clickworker?
We analyze your requirements together with you and divide your project into individual work parcels, so-called microjobs.
A network of over 3.6 million qualified Clickworkers all of whom have proven their expertise in a multi-level qualification process are then at your disposal, and can start work on your order immediately.
We reassemble the microjobs after they have been completed and deliver the finished overall result.
There is an empty canvas. You may place a tile upon it, but you must wait to place another. Individually you can create something. Together you can create something more.– Reddit Place
Creative Crowd – An unusal, recent Example
To illustrate the system a bit, we can look at Reddit’s recent crowd experiment.
Originally intended as an April Fool’s joke in 2017, the “Place” project was repeated in 2022. In the beginning there was an empty canvas of four million (2000 × 2000) pixel squares. For 4 days, every Reddit user was able to color a pixel of their choice on a small cooldown of a few minutes.
Several subreddits coordinated to claim and decorate certain sections of the canvas for themselves. It was only through this collaborative effort of over 6 million participating users that this breathtaking result could be achieved in the end. The development of the canvas can also be viewed as a time-lapse video.
Combination of the words “outsourcing” and “crowd”. Outsourcing work processes with the help of a community instead of individual service providers.
How does Crowdsourcing work?
Define a fitting crowdsourcing type for your project and create tasks for the crowd. E.g. microtasking: split up a large project into many parts.
Utilize crowd knowledge to source expertise and availability of millions of crowdworkers or Clickworkers to deliver fast, efficient results to your company.
Where to use Crowdsourcing / Where can it be applied?
There are countless application areas for crowdsourcing. For example Training Data for AI, SEO text creation, Categorization and Tagging, Surveys, Web Research, Mobile Crowdsourcing and Product Data Maintenance..
When is Crowdsourcing effective?
For big, data hungry projects. Getting diversity of impressions and fast problem solving.
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