Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crowdsourcing: Why it’s Not a Waste of Time

Crowdsourcing. You’ve probably heard the term over and over, and when I began to hear it from Dwayne Spradlin of Innocentive as he presented at the inaugural Social Media for Sustainability conference in San Francisco on Monday, I began to tune out. A buzzword with not a lot of tangible results. A recipe for messy, small-results projects. But what he did earlier got my attention. He said that if we in the audience as a group of 100s could synchronize our claps in under 45 seconds, he’d donate to a charitable cause of note. We did it in about 10 seconds. Trivial as this may sound, it served as a micro example of how, given the right incentives, people can coordinate and focus activity towards a goal, getting results faster than otherwise thought possible. In his presentation, “Creating Value Together – Online Collaboration and Competition Networks,” Spradlin gave several real-world examples of opening, widely, to help get supposedly intractable problems solved quickly.
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