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What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing (Eng. Crowdsourcing, crowd – “crowd” and sourcing – “use of resources”) – attracting a wide range of people to solve various problems of innovative production activities to use their creative abilities, knowledge and experience as voluntary subcontracting application of information and communication technologies.
This definition offers us Wikipedia.

We recently wrote about a concept such as crowdfunding. Today we dwell in more detail on crowdsourcing, which has certain similarities with crowdfunding, but the main meaning of these concepts is somewhat different.

If crowdfunding is a combination of financial efforts of different people, then crowdsourcing is a combination of any other resources that are needed to achieve the goal.

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To begin
How crowdsourcing came about

The term “crowdsourcing” was coined by Jeff Howe, who coined it in 2006. Then he, together with the 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 emphasis was placed on their differences: outsourcing is based on the fulfillment of certain tasks by specialists for a monetary reward, and crowdsourcing involves the execution of work mainly by amateurs and without any kind of 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. If other photobanks provided users with photos for $ 100-150 for one download, then on I Stock Photo you could download a photo for only $ 1, and the choice of photos was much wider. The question arises, “And here is crowdsourcing”? 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 on crowdsourcing were published, one of the most famous is an article in the 2011 Sloan Management Review magazine. Its authors are two professors (teaching in Japan and Germany) who have deeply studied how the use of crowdsourcing can positively affect the work of large organizations. They presented their findings in the form of a concise description of the activities of two companies that, with the help of crowdsourcing, significantly increased their effectiveness.

Crowdsourcing mechanism
The principle of crowdsourcing is very simple: a group of interested parties is given a specific task (most often this is done via the Internet), then those who complete 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 his activity.

The benefits of crowdsourcing

So, using crowdsourcing, you give yourself the opportunity:

1) to attract a lot of people from all over the world to 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 accomplish the desired task;

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

3) to find and attract rare outstanding specialists. It often happens that crowdsourcing involves those specialists who, under other conditions, simply would not have the opportunity to participate 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 he did not find a permanent job in this area. So he is needed by the company that attracts talented designers (albeit not entirely professional) to carry out the task;

4) get many options for performing one task and choose the best. While if this work was performed by a staff member of your company, you would receive only one implementation option (at best, several, but not thousands);

5) get options for the task in a clearly defined period of time. Most often, crowdsourcing involves the solution of goals in a certain time frame. This allows you to not delay the task for an indefinite period.

Types of crowdsourcing
Crowdsourcing can be divided into areas where it is used, and by the types of tasks that it performs. The areas in which crowdsourcing is used are business, politics, and the social and public sphere.

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