Whether providing feedback, tackling a big problem, or just providing useful data, crowdsourcing is evolving into a sophisticated, problem-solving tool.
In fact, more and more organisations are getting creative with how they utilise crowdsourcing sources.
These five applications below are just a few examples of how companies have started to harness the collective power of millions of Internet users in a very creative manner.
A Harvard Research team utilised the functionality of crowdsourcing site CrowdFlower to do their research for them.
While working on a project to help cure tuberculosis, the team quickly realised that the task at hand was too large. So they sent off the thousands of cells that they needed analysed to CrowdFlower.
CrowdFlower boasts a 95 per cent accuracy rate and was immensely helpful to the Harvard Research team, cutting down their work by months.
Many big brands have used crowdsourcing for years now, but in 2012 there seemed to be quite a jump in the number of popular brands that took advantage of crowdsourcing for brand design.
For instance, Coca Cola teamed up with Blank You Very Much to crowdsource a logo design for t-shirts. In a similar manner, Virgin teamed up with DesignCrowd for a t-shirt design for their US based Healthmiles clients.
Even the leader of the free world, US President Barack Obama used Artworks for crowdsourcing a poster design for his jobs plan during his 2012 re-election campaign.
Peace it together is a crowdsourcing project that allows people to post about the graffiti around the island of Cyprus that promotes peace and reconciliation on the island.
Anything from wall painting to bumper stickers to any other form of artistic expression is up for posting. As long as it pertains to the idea of peace and tolerance, or the lack thereof, it can be posted.
In this way, positive relations around the island can be spread and people around the world can see the “mood” of the island via the Internet.
Films are just hard to fund. But crowdsourcing can help.
For instance, Kickstarter.com is a site for a variety of artists, like filmmakers, that allows its users to post their pleas for funding. The public at large can read through the various outcries for help and choose the people they want to support.
One recent crowdsourced film BRIDEGROOM is a documentary that tells the tragic story of the accidental death of Tom Bridegroom and the difficulties that his partner, Shane Bitney Crone, had to endure.
The film’s goal is to reveal the ostracisation and disregard that occurs for many same-sex couples without the protection available through legal marriage. The film received more than its monetary goal on Kickstarter and can now be viewed or purchased.
While some of the films are simply, well, entertainment, others like this one allow crowdsource givers to feel a part of bringing awareness to situations through film.
Lay’s launched a crowdsourcing contest for people to create a new flavour. Customers contacted the company via text message or going online to the “Do Us a Flavor” (sic) Facebook page and told them the flavour, the name, and ingredients they wanted included.
The incentive was one per cent of the net earnings, upwards of a million dollars. This got the crowd involved, a fresh new flavour, and a creative way to brand Lay’s even more in the public eye.
Josephine Sabin is the Community Manager for design work for global crowdsourcing marketplace, DesignCrowd