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What is crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing (eng. Crowdsourcing, crowd – “crowd” and sourcing – “use of resources”) – engaging a wide range of people in solving various problems of innovative production activities to use their creative abilities, knowledge and experience of subcontracting from the use of information and communication technologies.
This definition offers us Wikipedia.

We recently wrote about such a thing as crowdfunding. Today we will dwell on crowdsourcing, which has certain similarities with crowdfunding, but the basic meaning of these concepts is somewhat different.

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

How Crowdsourcing Appeared
The author of the term “crowdsourcing” – Jeff Howe, who put it into circulation 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 more compared to outsourcing, and emphasis was placed on their differences: outsourcing is based on the performance of certain tasks by experts for a monetary reward, and crowdsourcing involves performing work primarily 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 photobanks in history. If other photobanks provided users with photos of $ 100-150 for one download, then on I Stock Photo you could download photos for only $ 1, and the choice of photos was much wider. There is a question “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 crowdsourcing materials were published, one of the most famous is the article in the Sloan Management Review magazine in 2011. Its authors are two professors (teaching in Japan and Germany) who have studied in depth how the use of crowdsourcing can positively influence the work of large organizations. They presented their conclusions in the form of a concise description of the activities of the two companies, which, with the help of crowdsourcing, significantly increased their efficiency.

Crowdsourcing mechanism
The principle of crowdsourcing is very simple: a group of stakeholders is given a specific task (most often it 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 their activities.

The advantages of crowdsourcing

So, using crowdsourcing, you give yourself the opportunity to:

1) to attract many 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 necessary task;

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

4) get a lot of options for performing one task and choose the best. While if this work were performed by a full-time employee of your company, you would get only one implementation option (at best, several, but not thousands);

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

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

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