The world is changing, and technology seems to have become the major driving force in many areas of development. Traditional ways of doing business, marketing and acquiring information have been overtaken by newer, more innovation methods.
One such new method is crowdsourcing. As the name suggests, crowdsourcing can be described as the mobilization of expertise, ideas, opinions and information from a large group of people, normally referred to as a “crowd”. The crowd usually submits their data through the internet. Some are paid as freelancers for work done, but others give the information on a voluntary basis. This is an excellent way of obtaining different kinds of useful information and ideas from a large group of people who are from different backgrounds and cultures. The difference between obtaining information the traditional way and obtaining the same information through crowdsourcing is immense. Based on Money Kinetics’ Complete Guide to Licensed Money Lenders, information that would have taken weeks or months to obtain through different surveys will take only a few hours using crowdsourcing.
Businesses and individuals who understand crowdsourcing have taken full advantage of it and are enjoying the benefits fully. It is a trend that has become increasingly popular, especially with those who make good use of technology.
Some examples of crowdsourcing are mentioned below:
- A company may want feedback on a new product that they have in the market. They will request for opinions to be sent online. They may also ask for suggestions to be given on how they can improve the product.
- A radio station will request that people send reports on traffic or other incidents on the road through twitter or any other social media avenue. This information will be given out to other online users as it is received.
- A company may want to design a new logo. They may request for suggestions to be sent online. They will then select the most suitable.
Crowdsourcing has plenty of great benefits to the economy, to businesses and even to one’s personal career development. The benefits of using crowdsourcing in these particular targeted areas are outlined below:
Benefits of crowdsourcing to the economy:
- Crowdsourcing enables companies to save money on overhead costs. This frees up money that can be used as capital for these companies to expand their investment. When several companies have this opportunity, it causes the economy to grow.
- Time is also saved during crowdsourcing because the information is relayed faster. Companies are able to use this information to generate revenue within a shorter time. This also results in economic growth.
- Crowdsourcing creates an opportunity for people to build their skills and careers. This results in a higher per capita income in an area, which also leads to economic growth.
Benefits of crowdsourcing to businesses:
- Businesses will make huge savings on overhead costs. This is because they are able to get diverse expert opinions from a number of sources at a very minimal cost. This is as opposed to the traditional way of hiring a consultant who will charge an exorbitant hourly rate to give expert advice that will be greatly limited because he/she is only one person.
- Businesses will also be able to get a huge amount of information in a very short time. An example is a case where the business needs feedback on one of their products. Instead of spending plenty of time doing a survey in one selected area, they could crowdsource and get plenty of feedback from a much larger crowd in a very short time.
- Crowdsourcing gives businesses a platform to do free marketing for all their products. It is common knowledge that the traditional marketing of products is a very expensive affair. Through crowdsourcing, they will able to reach a much bigger crowd at a minimal cost.
Benefits of crowdsourcing for individual careers:
- Through crowdsourcing, one’s career can be built significantly. People who have worked with an individual can register a recommendation online to companies that are sourcing for an employee who is in that particular career. This serves to double the chances of that person getting hired.
- One can market his or her skills or career using crowdsourcing, and this may lead to many great opportunities arising for him or her. An example is where a company needs a particular project done quickly. Instead of paying one full-time employee to handle it alone, it is faster to divide the project into several small jobs and crowdsource several individuals to do small jobs. This is an opportunity that may be given to those who have marketed their skills online.
From the above benefits given, it is clear that crowdsourcing is definitely the way of the future. It is not only beneficial to companies, but it can also be of great help in the life of an individual, because the benefits are diverse and they influence a person’s everyday life. An example is that one can get vital security or traffic information through crowdsourcing. Once they receive this information, they can make an informed decision on their travel based on the information received. Another example is that one is able to get quick information about a particular product without going to the company physically. One is able to compare different products as well as their prices conveniently and speedily through crowdsourcing.
Crowdsourcing often goes hand in hand with crowdfunding. However, there is a distinct difference. Crowdsourcing is the mobilizing of ideas, opinions and information from a crowd. On the other hand, crowdfunding is the mobilizing of funds from a crowd for a particular venture, charity, or even for startup capital of a new business. Those who contribute through crowdfunding do so on a voluntary basis and they have no intention of asking for their money back. There are many instances where crowdfunding has been combined with crowdsourcing. This is expected because the new ideas brought in through crowdsourcing will need funding in order to be actualized.
Crowdsourcing is truly a giant leap forward from the traditional ways of doing things. It has been said that people generally don’t like to embrace change, and would rather remain in their comfort zone where they have everything under control. People should be encouraged not to be afraid or apprehensive about using this new innovative method because it has proved to be a big problem solver.
Traditional ways of doing things have had serious limitations, and these have been solved using this new way of doing things. Crowdsourcing is the way of the future, and it will create efficiency in service delivery that is yet to be seen. Technology should be seen as a friend and not an enemy.
There are those who fear that crowdsourcing may render them jobless. Actually, it’s quite the contrary. In reality, it is an opportunity for one to go to the next level with one’s career and skills. The opportunities on the internet are unending, and therefore one will be better exposed to a very huge market. Whether one needs to be connected to a prospective employer, or they want to market their skills, crowdsourcing will give a wide-open door for numerous opportunities to be made a reality.
Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding are here to stay, and it will be very wise for one to use them to upgrade themselves and their businesses to a greater level of prosperity and maturity.