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Cheat Sheet

Crowdsourcing For Dummies

From Crowdsourcing For Dummies by David Alan Grier

Crowdsourcing is an innovative way of organising jobs and workers. The collaborative brainstorming enables hundreds or even thousands of people to contribute their thoughts and energies to a single task and can support complicated jobs that conventional means could never manage. Crowdsourcing uses an Internet task market, usually called a crowdsourcing platform, to connect workers to jobs. It enables those workers to take the kinds of jobs that they like and to complete those jobs when and where they want. Employers can find the kinds of workers they need, with the specific skills for their jobs, and pay for only the amount of work they need.

Understanding the Five Types of Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing has five major forms. Each form involves a crowdsourcer or manager, a crowdmarket and a crowd of people. By choosing the right form of crowdsourcing, you can manage large jobs with thousands of workers or do small jobs that require just a single person. You can create jobs that you carefully monitor and control, or you can let the crowd organise itself and decide how it should do the work.

Usage Features Usage
Crowdcontests *Enable you to identify the best worker for you job
*A single job description that asks for one item
*Many people proposing or creating item
*Only pay one person
*Graphic design
*Answering questions
*Testing software
*Creating films
*Other creative projects
Macrotasks *Enable you to get a specific skill for a job or project
*Hire worker from crowd for single task
*Communicate over the Internet
*Worker paid by task
*General business work
*Web design and other forms of design
*Assistance with writing and editing
*Application development
Microtasks *Enable you to use human intelligence on large, complicated jobs
*Divide big jobs into small units
*Put units on the Internet
*Let members of crowd do tasks
*All workers get paid
*Transcribe business cards, medical records and other documents
*Tag photos and handle non-textual data
*Find business information
Crowdfunding *Engage social networks to raise money
*Put a request for funds on an Internet platform
*Create messages and videos to promote request
*Recruit crowd to donate money
*Offer crowd gift or benefit
*Support non-profit organisations
*Raise funds for artistic endeavours
*Get cash for companies by offering goods or services
*Raise equity for company (under the right circumstances)
Self-organised crowds *Post a challenge on the Internet
*Recruit crowd to work on challenge
*Crowd organises itself into a team
*Teams compete to provide best answer for challenge
*Winning team compensated
*Team decides how to divide compensation
*Innovation – creating new products or services
*Finding and collecting information
*Processing information and offering judgement
*Solving challenges

Matching Up Tasks with Crowdsourcing

You can use the various forms of crowdsourcing in many different ways. If you try hard enough, you can do almost any job with any form. However, each form of crowdsourcing handles some jobs better than others. Here’s a list to give you a flavour of the kinds of tasks suited to the different forms of crowdsourcing:

  • App development: Macrotasking

  • Copywriting: Macrotasking

  • Editing: Macrotasking

  • Encyclopaedia creation: Microtasking and self-organised crowd

  • Graphic design: Crowdcontest or macrotasking

  • Innovation: Self-organised crowd or crowdcontest

  • Lead generation: Microtasking

  • New product creation: Crowdcontest or self-organised crowd

  • Photographic tagging: Microtasking or macrotasking

  • Photography: Crowdcontest, microtasking or macrotasking

  • Search engine optimisation: Microtasking

  • Secret shopping/price info: Microtasking or crowdcontest

  • Transcription: Microtasking or macrotasking

  • Translation: Macrotasking or microtasking

  • Writing: Macrotasking

Taking the Six Steps to Successful Crowdsourcing

When you crowdsource, you go through a series of six steps that prepare the job, get the job to the crowd and collect the final work product. Many of these steps are supported by crowdsourcing platforms – web services that guide you through these steps. Most of these platforms give you an easy connection to crowds and handle all the details of compensating the crowd.

Here are the six steps to successful crowdsourcing:

  1. Design the job and divide the labour.

  2. Write clear instructions.

  3. Choose a web platform to serve as your crowdmarket.

  4. Release the job and recruit the crowd.

  5. Listen to the crowd and manage the job.

  6. Assemble the work of the crowd and create the final product.

Crowdsourcing Advantages: Five Things Crowds Do Well

Crowds bring the power of collected human intelligence to various forms of work, which is the beauty of crowdsourcing, or collaborative brainstorming. Crowds can do a good job of bringing a specific skill to a job at just the moment when that skill is needed. They are also very good at coordinating a lot of different skills on large and complicated jobs such as:

  • Making judgements

  • Reading handwriting

  • Interpreting images

  • Finding information

Crowdsourcing Disadvantages: Identifying Six Things Crowds Do Badly

Crowds are at their best when they take the information you give them, combine it with their own experience and present you with their judgements – all good things in a collaborative environment. However, crowds do have trouble understanding the context of jobs. They can rarely see the forces that are shaping the job. With that in mind, here are six examples of things that crowds do badly:

  • Guess what you’re thinking.

  • Remember the history of your project.

  • Remember your goals.

  • Check their work.

  • Distinguish rumours from truth.

  • Make strategic decisions.

Keeping Up to Date with Crowdsourcing

The crowdsourcing world is changing rapidly. Each month brings new companies, new ideas for products and services, and new applications for crowdsourcing. To obtain the most current information, check one of these general information sites:

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