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  • "Crowdsourcing" is a term that people have been using a lot lately.

  • Do you know what it means?

  • Crowdsourcing is the process of connecting with large groups of people via the Internet who are tapped for their knowledge, expertise, time, or resources.

  • This idea of reaching out to the crowd isn't new; even before crowdsourcing on the Internet, we often collaborated with groups of people.

  • Some people help because they were seeking a reward for their efforts, or sometimes they just wanted to help.

  • Let's go back to 1714: Sailing the Seven Seas was necessary but really dangerous to navigate.

  • So, the British government held a contest, asking people for a solution.

  • John Harrison answered the call, he invented the marine chronometer, and was awarded a large cash prize.

  • Sailors used the marine chronometer to determine the ship's longitude, with the help from the stars.

  • Let's move forward a bit to 1858⏤a group of scholars created the first Oxford English Dictionary.

  • It was a huge project, and they needed help.

  • So, they asked for lots of volunteers to write about different topics according to their expertise, and then they put it all together.

  • The point is, relying on the crowd isn't really a newfangled idea.

  • But it wasn't until we all got connected that crowdsourcing came about,

  • because with the Internet, you can reach lots of people very quickly, and you can direct and organize their work.

  • Think of it like this: Crowdsourcing is a way of solving problems and producing things by connecting online with people that you otherwise wouldn't know.

  • Anyone can use crowdsourcing: companies, governments, groups, and individuals.

  • They can use it to grow their organizations or support their causes.

  • There are four different ways crowdsourcing works.

  • The first enables you to access a large online labor force.

  • You can identify and select workers, or you can just post your work and let the workers find you.

  • The second allows you to ask the crowd to help you find a solution to a problem.

  • A third is when knowledge exists, but you need help finding and organizing it.

  • The fourth is when you need ideas from the crowd and their opinion and feedback.

  • So, as you can see, there are different ways crowdsourcing works, and there are different things you can do with crowdsourcing.

  • When you use the crowd to help collect and organize information, we call this "Accessing Distributed Knowledge".

  • "Crowdfunding", where you can raise capital from many individuals who believe in your venture or cause,

  • each making small donations that add up to a lot.

  • When you use crowdsourcing to connect with an on-demand scalable workforce to perform a broad range of tasks, we call this "Accessing Cloud Labor".

  • "Open Innovation" is where you use crowdsourcing to reach diverse and creative people for new-idea generation and problem-solving.

  • Crowdsourcing can be used to access the world's creative communities to design and develop original art, media, or content; we call this "Crowd Creativity".

  • There are many tools available that can be used in crowdsourcing that support collaboration and communication among distributed groups of people.

  • You want to know more, right? I thought so.

  • Visit for everything you want to know about crowdsourcing.

  • Take a step further,

  • and visit for assistance with your crowdsourcing initiatives and to learn how to benefit from crowdsourcing.

"Crowdsourcing" is a term that people have been using a lot lately.

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