Friday 27 January 2012

Crowdsourcing: tapping the collective want…

Following the impact of our NamNews item: Nestle checking views on Kit Kat flavours (1,265 hits in two days), we felt it might be useful to point you at some useful sources of potential applications
Definitions: Essentially, crowdsourcing is a technique whereby the long tail plays an important part i.e. each member of the crowd submits an insignificant contribution to the total outcome, but the total of these contributions amounts to a considerable difference. (More on definitions)
How it started: The Social Path tells the story of a 1906 country fair at which attendees were invited to guess the weight of a large ox. Hoping for a cash prize, about 800 people made guesses, though no one got it right.
Afterwards, a statistician analysed the written guesses and discovered something shocking: the average of all the guesses was a mere one pound away from the exact weight of the ox. The site also gives some great examples with spooky implications…
Examples: For a comprehensive coverage of examples see Anjali Ramachandran on the following
1. Individual businesses or sites that channel the power of online crowds
2. Brand-sponsored initiatives or forums that depend on crowdsourcing. I've included those that are no longer active as well, for reference.
3. Brand initiatives that allow users to customise their products
4. Brand-sponsored competitions/challenges focussed on crowdsourcing

Curiously, much of the good source material is two years old…an indicator that given its success, perhaps companies are paradoxically now keeping crowdsourcing to themselves?
Have a crowded weekend, from the NamNews Team!

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