If you have already heard of “crowdsourcing”, then you are probably already familiar with its basic aspects and how it can help you achieve goals that would be difficult or even impossible to achieve otherwise. If you haven’t heard of it yet, read on to find out more about it and learn about some of the more common crowdsourcing examples.
At its most basic, crowdsourcing is the process of obtaining funds or services from groups of people. A portmanteau or combination of the words “crowd” and “outsourcing”, crowdsourcing typically involves support from an online audience, although this isn’t always necessarily the case.
Wikipedia is probably one of the most familiar crowdsourcing examples around. Unlike other reference materials that are generally sourced from only a few specific authorities, Wikipedia provides information that is the sum total of input from the global online community. Drawing from so many different sources for each topic, Wikipedia is able to provide a comprehensive body of information that wouldn’t be possible–and isn’t available–otherwise. The sheer breadth of information that Wikipedia is able to offer on any given topic is in fact testament to the vast power and resources available via crowdsourcing.
The basic premise of crowdsourcing is that the more resources there are available, the higher the quality of the final product. In the case of Wikipedia, the availability of information from such a wide and varied array of resources results in more detailed and thorough information, which would simply not be possible when only limited resources are utilized. This crowdsourcing innovation makes Wikipedia possibly the most comprehensive stores of information in existence.
Crowdsourcing can be used for a wide variety of other purposes and applications as well. In the case of Wikipedia, it can be an amazingly powerful and effective way to gather information cheaply and quickly. In fact, most articles on Wikipedia are subject to a continuous process of critique, refinement, and addition, which ensures a high level of quality in terms of range of content and accuracy.
Crowdsourcing can also be applied to specific tasks such as design projects. For larger and more complex tasks in which time is of the essence, crowdsourcing enables the project leader to delegate specific tasks to other people. This ensures a much higher level of quality, since you won’t be relying on a single person to do the job.
“Crowdfunding” is another type of crowdsourcing. As the name implies, this involves obtaining funds from a group of people. This basically makes it possible to startup up a project or to achieve a specific goal, for which the lack of funds can cause the endeavor to grind to a halt.
Crowdsourcing is truly the way of the future, and we will likely see more and more examples of it as time goes on. If you are trying to achieve a specific goal or meet a specific target, you might find the benefit offered by crowdsourcing to be essential to achieving them.