While the term “Crowdsourcing” only came about around the year 2006, the practice of crowdsourcing has been around for a long time. Many scientific advancements are the result of crowdsourcing, and opening sharing solutions and information with others allows even more discoveries to easily be made.
One of the favorite uses of crowdsourcing started with the show “America’s Most Wanted” where the power of television was used to reach the masses to find wanted individuals. People do not need to actually collaborate to be involved with crowdsourcing. With the advent of the internet and the ease of connectivity, we can now take crowdsourcing to a whole new level.
Crowdsourcing can be very successful if done right. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Gamers and HIV
When scientists decided to try the online gaming site fold.it to solve the molecular structure of a key protein in AIDS, they didn’t really know what to expect. But shockingly, it only took 10 days to accomplish what scientists could not do in 10 years.
The takeaway lesson from this success story is the fact that sharing answers openly so that more answers can be expounded on is a very successful way to solve complex problems. If you think about it, it’s the entire concept behind “open source”. Crowdsourcing involves all “players” being open, and sometimes a little good healthy competition can push along the group.
Back in 2006, Netflix wanted to improve their recommendation software to produce better results for their customers. They asked the public to come up with a better algorithm and promised a 1 million dollar prize plus some smaller incentives along the way. Finally, BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (AT&T Research) won the prize.
What made this a success was the fact that Netflix had very defined parameters as to what defined success for the innovators. They said the prize would be awarded to the first team that improved their results by 10 percent. While Netflix did not ultimately use the solution, the money was well spent because of all the free publicity they received.
This project showed how crowdsourcing can and does work, and quickly, as they finished years before Netflix thought they would. Next, they want to use crowdsourcing for captioning its online streaming video collection and thus far this is proving to be another success story.
Crowdfunding is full of successful crowdsourcing examples for large businesses, individual projects and more. Projects such as the Veronica Mars Movie and The iPod Nano Watch, are a couple of successful examples. But without a huge following like the examples above, it can be difficult to get funding for your small business idea.
However, with the launch of SoMoLend.com and Crowdfunding sites like CircleUp.com, expect many success stories in years to come. Read about Melt Organics and Episencial on CircleUp.com to get inspired.