Crowdsourcing was best described in Wired Magazine in 2006. Centralization is out. Decentralizing is in. In the past, complex problems often were solved using a focused team using a very linear process. Now because of better and faster communications and the ability to cheaply capture and distribute data, problems can be solved. And, if they aren’t solved completely, an adequate solution will certainly present itself where no solution existed before. It is all about scale. If you have a problem you haven’t been able to devote resources to in the past because of the cost, perhaps you can find a 90% solution using lots of empirical data, cheap recorders, cheap communications, and software tools.
Here is a recent example validating the crowdsourcing approach: TomTom’s GPS navigation data services will start selling their driving condition information to other GPS navigation device manufactures. By recording, communicating, and aggragating navigation data, TomTom has gleaned valuable information and knowledge it can now sell.
At great expense, TomTom could have gathered its own data, using its own resources, and developed a pretty good way of getting from A to B. Using the data from huge numbers if users, TomTom captured the “best” route from A to B as travelled by the locals who know it best. The crowds of local experts are providing the information to TomTom. This is a validation of crowdsourcing process.
How can you use crowdsourcing to solve a long standing business problem? Think:
- Lots of data points
- Cheap capture methods,
- Cheap communication tools
- Distilling data into information for 90% solution
Let me know your example. And, don’t remind me that I used a crowdsourced tool, Wikipedia, to define crowdsourcing…