Crowdsourcing is one of the biggest buzzwords of the 21st century. But just what is it, and what does crowdsourcing software do? Very simply put, crowdsourcing is a way of getting groups of individuals together to solve problems and come up with innovative solutions. Essentially, a business describes a problem to the world – the crowd – and individuals can then choose to come up with solutions to solve said problem.
So far so good, but just how does this work? It all started with the internet, when people needed to go somewhere to help them resolve any issues they may have. This was so successful that things quickly changed and expanded beyond IT and tech. Take, for instance, LinkedIn Answers, Yahoo Answers, and Quora, where you can ask just about anything. Do you have a cooking recipe that you want to spruce up, an exercise program that doesn’t quite work, a cosmetic product that you don’t know how to use, or any other issue? Then you can go to a variety of locations to ask about this – or to share your personal solutions, for that matter. The applications are pretty much endless, and this is also why the world of business is so interested in it.
Crowdsourcing Software in Action
There are numerous real world examples that explain the methodology of crowdsourcing far better than any written definition every could. These examples can serve as an inspiration to some of the things you can do. As such:
- Crowdsourcing has helped to develop new products. For instance, one electrical products manufacturer created an online portal for inventors, contractors, and electricians, where they could speak about products that they felt could benefit the world. Toys manufacturers, including Mattel and Lego, have also frequently used crowdsourcing platforms in order to develop new products. In fact, even the food industry has used it, including Vitaminwater, Dunkin’ Donuts, Benn & Jerry’s, and more. And they have all been hugely successful.
- Crowdsourcing has helped to build new software applications. These are known as “open source” packages, which means people have worked together to create a piece of software for free, and users can contribute to its improvement, SourceForge, Linux, Thunderbird, and Mozilla Firefox are all examples of this.
- Crowdsourcing has helped design and develop website. Crowdspring and 99Designs are popular examples of this, which are marketplaces where people can share their designs and determine how much they want to get paid for it. Threadless, for instance, has created a huge business in this way, crowdsourcing designs for t-shirts.
- Crowdsourcing has gathered marketing and advertising ideas, ensuring businesses listen to their audience instead of paying a PR company. An example is the first television commercial by Witness Ford, who launched a new ad for their 2013 Focus ST. They asked people to come watch the new vehicle’s stunt demo, asking people to film what was happening and submit it. Some 580 videos were uploaded by 100 different people, and 20 different videos were used to create the advertisement.