Crowd Sourcing Speech by Nanda Kishor


Speech Topic: CrowdSourcing


Many of you believe that "Too many cooks spoil the broth" BUT I believe "A million heads is Better than One" – That's crowdsourcing.

Mr. or Ms. Toastmaster, Fellow speechcrafters, esteemed guests – You might be aware that companies have been outsourcing (the work) to India and China for years. Now they are taking it to another level by using social networks (or social networking sites) such as MySpace, ThreadLess, etc to solve their most obscure business problems which is nothing but crowdsourcing. If you think crowdsourcing is just related to IT then you might be wrong.

Now let's see what exactly is crowdsourcing and how it is related to us ?

Speech Topic : CrowdSourcing

CrowdSourcing by Nanda Kishor

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Body of the Content:

According to Mr.Jeff Howe who coined the term "Crowdsourcing" in the recent times (2006) which means "the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people or community in the form of an open call."

In simple words, Crowdsourcing can be defined as a distributed problem-solving and production model. Problems are broadcast to an unknown group of solvers in the form of an open call for solutions. Users–also known as the crowd–typically form into (online) communities, and the crowd submits solutions.

Let me share few examples of Crowdsourcing to make you understand it better:

  • Times of India launched a national-level initiative 'Teach India' programme is based on one simple principle "If you have the desire to teach, we will put you in touch with underprivileged children who are willing to learn". Contributing two hours a week to make a lifetime of difference, a great crowdsourcing initiative from Times w.r.t education sector. As per today's TOI, they are announcing a unique initiative called the "Joy of Giving Week" to bring India together through cash, kind and kindness.
  • Let's talk about Cookery shows in various TV channels : You might be knowing, A TV cooking show is a television program that presents the preparation of food, in a kitchen on the studio set. Few years back, only a celebrity chef used to get an opportunity in the cookery shows. Now the scenario has changed, the TV channels make an open call by inviting home-makers / great personalities who have passion to share their recipes with thousands of viewers. Also they reward them by giving gifts to encourage more people to participate and share recipes in the Cookery shows. Isn't it a great example of crowd-sourcing.
  • NGO / Non-Profit Organization initiatives like Marathons, Blood Donation Campaigns, Fund raising campaigns, Micro Finance are few examples of Crowd sourcing initiatives in which NGOs connect volunteers who can contribute their time, knowledge, money, etc to help others.
  • Being a techie, I'd like to share few crowdsourcing examples w.r.t IT field. Few of the popular projects are:
  1. Wikipedia – a free, web-based and collaborative multilingual encyclopedia. Over 13 million articles (2.9 million in English) have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world and almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone who can access the Wikipedia website.
  2. Youtube – a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos with others.
  3. Similarly for photo sharing, Picasa & Flickr are widely used. As of June 2009[update], claims to host more than 3.6 billion images.
  4. Threadless – Members of the Threadless community submit t-shirt designs online, Others vote for the designs, The winning designs will receive cash prize and it will be selected for printing and sold through an online store.
  5. Linux – a popular & most widely used operating system which is based on the free & open source software collaboration efforts. In Linux project, any one can contribute the code, use it for free of cost and allowed to re-distribute it to others.

What is common in all these crowdsourcing examples ??
* Contribute / Share – Ability or willingness to share your time, money, knowledge, donate blood, etc.
* Collaboration – A platform to connect and collaborate together
* Organization – Guidelines, tools to use, etc for smooth execution

Advantages of Crowdsourcing:
* Reduce costs related to market research
* Listen to the voice of the customer
* Develop as well as execute some of these ideas in participation with the community

Obviously Crowdsourcing has few disadvantages too :
* Take it with a pinch of salt that "All crowdsourcing projects cannot be successful unless there exists a good platform, right tools and right people / crowd to execute ideas".
* Community motivational issues
* IP ownership or copyright issues of crowdsourced products/services
* Threat of competitors acting on some of the ideas as the ideas are available in the public domain
* Intermittent participation by key participants may delay the output
* Not all projects will take advantage of crowdsourcing : Some projects will be deemed high security, or highly proprietary, or simply have too much legacy to take advantage of this model.

To summarize: Crowdsourcing can be looked at as an application of the "wisdom of crowds" concept, in which the knowledge and talents of a group of people is leveraged to create content and solve problems. In some cases, this labor is well compensated, either monetarily, with prizes, or with recognition. In other cases, the only rewards may be kudos or intellectual satisfaction.

Finally Crowdsourcing works? But you have to know how to use it. Develop a strategy, Trust your members, Motivate them to succeed 🙂

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