Have you heard the new term “crowd-sourcing”? At first I thought this was a call for movie extras!It’s actually a creative way to get work done for free or for pauper’s wages.
According toJeff Howe, the person who coined the phase andcontributing editor at Wired Magazine “Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by a designated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call.”Jeff has written extensively on this subject in his blog http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/
Free or low costtalent willing to bring fresh ideas, conduct research and development, design new products, developtechnologyapplications, act asfocus groups,write articles, take photos, provde consumer reviews….the list is endless. What’s wrong with that? From the sponsoring company’s perspective, nothing!Paul Boutin at Business Weekasks “Every business has customers who are sure they could design the products better themselves. So why not let them?” http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/jul2006/id20060713_755844.htm
To creatcontext for crowd-sourcing, just think about Google.Google posts search results according to their user’s choices (andcharge their clients forthe first 3 spots you see). Or Facebook and Wikipedia, where userscreate 100% of content with free labour. Who benefits the most? Last time I checked Google and Facebook are worth a very big bagof cashfor founders and shareholder.Stephanie Findlay’sAugust 4th article in MacLean’s cites a case where the Guardiandeveloped a user-friendly platform thatthe public could use to review and categorize 500,000MP’s expense claims in the UK. The site was launched in a week and within the first 80 hours, 170,000 documents were reviewed by the public, for free, and”inappropriate” spending by MP’s was highlighted.Wow! Crowd-sourcing at its best!
If you’re facing budget constraints,a need to quicklyenter a market,scarcity ofpeople or financial resources,then crowd-sourcing is a dream come true. An innovative leader can quickly put together a contest, internet site,blog, or call to action and distribute iton the internet where it is accessible to anyone and everyone. Thecostmay incluldea cash prize, an offer of a contract or permanent job or nothing more than15 minutes of fame.
Participation is voluntary. Compensation, if any, is clearly stated.
Exploration? Or smart, creative management? ………….. You decide.
Linda Tuck Chapman is a seasoned corporate Sourcing executive and President, ONTALA Performance Solutions Ltd. www.ontala.com. Please contact her at email@example.com 416-452-4635.