Outsource Magazine Issue 24 - (Page 36)

The RoaR of The CRowd It’s already responsible for some of the most influential websites and organisations of our time – and its proponents say this is just the beginning. But is crowdsourcing genuinely revolutionary? And is there always value in the wisdom of crowds – or do too many cooks spoil the broth? Steve Bynghall investigates. Steve Bynghall, Consultant Steve Bynghall is a freelance consultant and writer, specialising in knowledge management and collaboration solutions. He is a columnist for Outsource online. O 36 ● ● ver the past five years “crowdsourced” solutions have started to emerge as a popular business model for start-ups, as well as a viable alternative to more traditional outsourcing methods, particularly for smaller businesses. But whilst “crowdsourcing” as a popular term has snowballed – easily demonstrated by a search on Google or BBC News Online – it still has a long way to go before it is embedded in the enterprise. Lukas Biewald, CEO of crowdsourcing aggregator CrowdFlower, has said that “I think that companies like ours are really set to disrupt the whole outsourcing industry.” Is crowdsourcing a genuinely new way of doing things, with the potential to shake up the traditional outsourcing market, or is it partly a passing fad? What is CroWdsourCing? The term “crowdsourcing” was originally coined in 2006 in a Wired article by journalist Jeff Howe. He defines crowdsourcing as: “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.” Of course the combination of “large group” and “open call” means the crowdsourcing process can theoretically be applied to a number of situations, from websites like Wikipedia which rely on usergenerated content through to viewers voting for the X-Factor winner. It also means there are many instances of “crowdsourcing” before the term was ever coined. Because the term is quite ubiquitous there are inevitable debates about what constitutes a crowdsourcing business model. However there are clearly a number of distinct areas where organisations are getting value out of sourcing work to the crowd. Ross Dawson is a Sydney-based futurist, author and crowdsourcing expert who is currently writing a book on how businesses Wikipedia – probably the most prominent crowdsourcing project on the web – now consists of over 18 million individual articles. It was launched in January 2001. www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 24

Editor's letter
News & comments
Seeing through the cloud
Steve Forbes
Embracing a lean culture in recruitment
The roar of the crowd
Andrew De Cleyn
Greening the chain
Private properties
NOA round-up
PR Chandrasekar
Ten ways to shake your world
Matt Barrie
Roundtable: an excellent process
The talent question
Transition and change
Never the twain
Setting the standard
Touching base
Top ten
The legal view
HfS research
Online round-up
Inside source
The last word

Outsource Magazine Issue 24