Crowdsourcing examples

One recurring buzzword that has entered the business world is “crowdsourcing” – it is used as a silver bullet in all sorts of contexts. Here are some notes and thoughts:

Wikipedia has a good definition and describes how the term emerged.

Famous examples are:

Facebook’s use of the community to translate its interface.

Translations

or Twitter

Twitter Translation Center

and Google that use the power of the community to translate their web apps. For example the Chichewa interface was translated by Malawian and Zambian volunteers:

Google.mw

See Clement Nyirenda’s blog entry calling for volunteers and his subsequent post celebrating the launch.

Another very famous crowdsourcing platform is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which provides some remuneration for so-called human intelligence tasks.

amazon mechanical turk

Reasons why a crowdsourced project may fail:

  • lack of monetary motivation,
  • too few participants,
  • lower quality of work,
  • lack of personal interest in the project,
  • global language barriers,
  • or difficulty managing a large-scale, crowdsourced project.

Prerequisites are:

  • a big enough crowd – which many SMEs don’t have access to,
  • sufficient motivation,
  • and some kind of indication how much work is required.

What about B2B projects? How can B2B companies use crowdsourcing?
Tartan Marketing (not Scottish despite the branding) describes 2 scenarios:

  • internal – using the internal workforce to find new ideas via wikis and blogs and other collaboration software. The underlying assumption is that “the good ideas will “float to the top” and can make the planning and decision-making process much more efficient”.
  • external – where a company involves its customer base to improve and develop services and products; the long-term benefit being loyalty and goodwill for the company.

Here is a further list of less well-known crowdsourcing platforms.

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