The Power of the Crowd

The Power of the Crowd

The Power of the Crowd

Kathryn, Co-founder of CrowdGuru.org, tells us how she has been inspired by the power of crowds to solve large, complex problems.

I’ve been really inspired by the concept of crowdsourcing… So much so that we are now setting up Crowd Guru based on this model.

The first crowdsourcing site that really impressed me was Kiva (www.kiva.org). Kiva enables you to lend a small amount of money to someone in a less developed country who doesn’t have access to a bank, usually because they have no collateral and only want to borrow a small amount. As that person repays their loan, you can re-invest the cash in someone else. I think this is such an inspired model… the idea that a small amount of money can be used time & again to help many different people… that if enough people sign-up, the amounts make a real difference, and that individuals can do this where commercial organisations struggle to create a business model that works – it is so powerful!

Of course, there are many other examples… Wikipedia, (www.wikipedia.org) and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (www.mturk.com) being notable examples. Mechanical Turk gets users to perform micro-tasks and was used after Hurricane Katrina, to muster thousands of volunteers to consolidate 15,200 records about missing people. Most large companies are now using crowdsourcing in some capacity, whether to come up with new ideas, test out new designs, or perform tasks.

Over the last few years crowdfunding has become popular, especially for creative or community projects. The idea is that people can raise money for their project or business using the power of the crowd, sometimes in return for small gifts or equity stakes in the business. Check out www.kickstarter.com, www.indiegogo.com or www.peoplefund.it. I really like the way projects are advertised on these sites, and they provide plenty of inspiration for the CrowdGuru task design.

The CrowdGuru concept is based on the crowdsourcing model… sourcing expertise from Gurus in the crowd to help on a project. Not only that, but our whole approach is based on it too! We are using experts in various fields to design, build, and test the site, and we are also planning to run a crowdfunding campaign (more on this in due course).

If you want to know more about crowdsourcing, www.crowdsourcing.org is a great website for general industry news and reports.

Kathryn

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