It was bound to happen. I mean, all the conditions were right. The economy fell like a sack of flour, forcing everyone to start doing a lot more with a lot less. We were suddenly faced with a large and talented unemployment pool. Meanwhile, social media took off like a rocket. Given these conditions, it’s no wonder crowdsourcing really exploded.
Crowdsourcing is a relatively new take on an old idea. The word “crowdsource” is a combination of the words “crowd” and “outsource.” Outsourcing has been around forever—the IT and sales industries are infamous for putting inexpensive call centers halfway around the world. Crowdsourcing is the same concept, except instead of hiring a specialized company to do the work in question, companies open up the job to the public at large. Anyone looking for a little extra work can take a shot at the project.
A good example of this is LG’s 2010 “Design the Future” competition. Using the popular crowdsourcing platform crowdSPRING, LG offered cash prizes (up to $20,000) to the person who submitted the best design for what the phone of the future might look like.
But wait. Doesn’t a company like LG have a Research and Development department for things like that? Sure, probably. But crowdsourcing is cheaper, and it allowed the company to tap into entirely new resources by way of Joe Public.