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Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy: Chapter 3: Infrastructures For ‘Sourcing The Crowd’ And Mutualizing Idle Resources

Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy: Chapter 3: Infrastructures For ‘Sourcing The Crowd’ And Mutualizing Idle Resources

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Published by P2P_Foundation
The report “Synthetic overview of the collaborative economy“, coproduced by Orange Labs and the P2P Foundation, provides a thorough mapping of the actors involved in this cooperative economy: for the first time, nearly all the dots of the emerging collaborative economy, and their inter-relation, are presented in a single overview.
The report “Synthetic overview of the collaborative economy“, coproduced by Orange Labs and the P2P Foundation, provides a thorough mapping of the actors involved in this cooperative economy: for the first time, nearly all the dots of the emerging collaborative economy, and their inter-relation, are presented in a single overview.

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Published by: P2P_Foundation on Oct 17, 2012
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07/22/2014

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Chapter Three:
Infrastructures For SourcingThe CrowdAnd MutualizingIdle Resources
100
 
Introduction
In Chapter 1 and 2 we have described the emerging social logic of horizontal collaboration andparticipative value creation that corporate institutions and other market entities have to adapt to. Inthis chapter, we examine two of the major ways in which they are attempting to do this. One ismobilizing wider participation through crowdsourcing, which we may interpret as the ‘mutualizing ofimmaterial resources’; this is a type of activity that allows firms to tap into a wider pool of distributedinnovation or labor. The second part concerns the mobilizing of idle material resources which may bein the hands of a distributed public, i.e. so-called collaborative consumption, which we may interpretas a ‘mutualizing of physical resources’; this is a type of activity in which firms attempt to create usecommunitiesaround access and service systems.Our third chapter reviews crowdsourcing and collaborative consumption, two major trends in thecollaborative economy. We will attempt the mapping of their corresponding infrastructures. First, welook at crowdsourcing interpreted as activity that allows firms to tap into a wider pool of distributedinnovation or labor. Second, we look at collaborative consumption as a major trend to create ‘usecommunitiesaround access and service systems. These systems are based on the mutualization ofresources and infrastructures, and the recuperation of the manifold idle resources that have beencreated by our consumerist society. These idle reserves are now, in an age of increasing resourcescarcity, being rethought.
101
 
I. Crowdsourcing
 A. Defining Crowdsourcing
The narrow definition of crowdsourcing focuses on the aspect of an open callto the general public,as opposed to systems that try to profit from more exclusive ‘lead user’ contributions. For example,see the following definition, taken from an excellent overview essay by Katarina Stanoevska-Slabeva,from which we will quote more later on:
"Crowdsourcing is the act of taking a job traditionally performed by adesignated agent (usually an employee) and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people in the form of an open call."
Indeed for Jeff Howe, the coiner of the term in 2006, the open call is crucial:
“The crucial prerequisite is the use of the open call format in the widenetwork of potential laborers.
According to James Surowiecki, author of the best-selling The Wisdom of Croweds,
“a crowd can be defined as a large set of anonymous individuals. Implicit inthis definition is the idea that a firm cannot build its own crowd. Thestrength of the crowd is the possibility to choose from the contribution ofmany contributors with different backgrounds, qualifications and talents."
In practice however, crowdsourcing has acquired the more general meaning of sourcing contributionsto an outside public, even if selection procedures are being applied.Both methods are used, i.e. crowds vs. experts, as explained by Patrick Philippe Meier, who uses andmonitors crowdsourcing in the generation of disaster area mapping:
"the term 'crowd' can mean a large group of people (unboundedcrowdsourcing) or perhaps a specific group (bounded crowdsourcing, also
121 http://crowdsourcing.typepad.com/cs/advertising/index.html122 Stanoevska-Slabeva, Katarina. Enabled Innovation: Instruments and Methods of Internet-based Collaborative Innovation. 1stBerlin Symposium on Internet and Society (2011).http://berlinsymposium.org/sites/berlinsymposium.org/files/crowdsourcingenabledinnovation.pdf123
 
Ibid.102

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