So do you use any crowdsourcing at work?

‘You mean crowdfunding? ‘, you might wonder.

No, we mean crowdsourcing. We came across the article Crowdsourcing the Policy Cycle that offers some ideas on the topic.

We recollect them below.

What is crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a sourcing model in which individuals or organizations obtain goods and services, including ideas and finances, from a large, relatively open and often rapidly-evolving group of internet users; it divides work between participants to achieve a cumulative result.

What does it have to offer for IT?

Actually, a lot.

The common crowdsourcing types in IT are virtual labor marketplaces (VLMs), Tournament-Based Collaboration (TBC) and Open Collaboration (OC). They differ in the degree of anonymity, the scale of crowds (number of participants) and the cost.

Virtual Labor Marketplaces

A virtual labor marketplace (VLM) is an IT-mediated market for spot labor where individuals and organizations perform various tasks for payment. The crowd of workers are good at microtasks, such as the translation of documents, labeling photos, etc. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean they can’t perform other jobs.

Workers select the tasks independently, basing on the payment, the nature of the task and their degree of expertise.

Given the size of the crowd at these marketplaces, tasks can be rapidly completed.

So what about the 3 key factors?

Cost

Degree of anonymity

Scale of the crowd

Variable

High

High

Tournament-Based Collaboration

This type of crowdsourcing works as follows: companies or individuals describe their problems (opportunities) to an IT-mediated crowd in some web environment, like a website, a forum, a social media community and more.

Having posted a problem, the company starts a competition within the crowd and chooses the winner – the individual (or a group) who offers the best solution.

In this type of crowdsourcing, the number of participants is smaller when compared to the VLM’s. Individual participants can choose not to be anonymous at these sites and disclose their offline identities.

The competition participants “fight” for fixed amounts of prize money, which can range from a few hundred dollars to a million dollars or more.

Now let’s look at the key factors.

Cost

Degree of anonymity

Scale of the crowd

Fixed

Medium

Medium

Open Collaboration

In an open collaboration (OC) model, organizations share their problem with the public through IT channels. Here the contributions are voluntary and do not require a monetary exchange. Posting on Reddit, starting a wiki, or using social media are examples of this type of collaboration.

Unlike in the other two methods of crowdsourcing, the size of the crowds in OCs can vary significantly. It is determined by the reach and engagement of the IT medium used. For example, as of December 2013, Reddit had approximately 2.7 million registered Redditors. Nevertheless, catching the eye of any significant contributor here is not guaranteed unless you touch upon an issue widely discussed.

And what about the 3 factors.

Cost

Degree of anonymity

Scale of the crowd

None

Variable

Variable

Bonus. Crowdsourcing types for policy-making

With a varying degree of efficiency, crowdsourcing types described can be used in different policy cycles.

A policy cycle is a sequence of steps in which an agenda is set; a problem is defined; alternative policies to address the problem are designed, analyzed and refined; a proposed policy is selected, implemented, enforced, and henceforth re-evaluated.

So where the crowdsourcing types can be applied efficiently?

According to the authors, VLMs suit policy making best. They are efficient for policy enforcement and implementation. They can also be used for policy design and evaluation with a medium degree of efficiency.

TBCs make a good option for policy design and are less efficient for other policy cycles.

As for OCs, they hit the top in setting the agenda and the problem and score high in policy evaluation.

Have you ever used any crowdsourcing type described? Share your experience.