What is crowdsourcing?
Crowdsourcing is the combination of the words ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. It is the process of posting work or gaining funds through a crowd of people. The general idea is to take a piece of work or project and outsource it to a crowd of workers, each with their own set of ideas and skills.
The principle of outsourcing is the idea that quality is a result of quantity. With so many participants willing to work towards a project, ideas and innovation can be generated quickly and effectively.
Crowdfunding involves asking an online crowd of people for funding towards a project, for example a band asking their fans to fund their next album. Donations should total the goal amount before the deadline expires (which is usually 60 days) otherwise the money is returned to the donors.
A project can also be broken into different elements which are then outsourced separately. This is called microtasking. Work in each area is then completed quickly and cheaply as the tasks are more manageable and focused to specific skill sets.
Initial ideas can also be generated if you are stuck on how to begin a project. Simply posting a theme or overall idea to the general public can generate more leads, ideas and routes compared to working on your own.
Rather than paying freelancers for designs such as logos and branding images, you can outsource your design needs to a crowd of designers, stating pricings, deadlines and specific requirements.
Crowdsourcing allows you to access a vast number of people for one task. Think of it as an interview process, which takes less time and resources. Once a task is posted online, you can be inundated with skilled candidates willing to do the job. This process is great if you need a project finishing quickly or if you are raising money.
Crowdsourcing can be added into a business model alongside outreach tools as a quick and easy way to reach wider communities and to gain exposure for the company.
Crowdsourcing is also an effective way for the unemployed to work remotely and to get back on the job ladder. For those who are recently out of university, gaining work through crowdsourcing can also break the vicious cycle of experience, especially in competitive industries such as publishing and design. Because everything is done online, crowdsourcing is based upon your skills and competence rather than outside influences which could affect your prospects such as transport and costs for travelling to interviews.
Having said this, the main con in crowdsourcing is being selected from a large pool of workers all competing for a project. Your ideas need to be innovative and unique in order to stand out from the rest. People who are looking to build up a portfolio may have to wait for a long period of time, depending on how well their work is received.
If a project does not inform workers of specific details, some information can get lost in translation which can result in misjudged or misinformed work which can add time and money to proceedings.
If a crowdfunding deadline is not met, lots of time and effort can be lost as the project will either have to start again or alternative routes must be found.