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CrowdSourcing is a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a broad undefined group of people who then offer their solutions. CrowdSourcing, often referred to as the wisdom of the crowd has been growing from strength to strength for some time CrowdSourcing is used when companies or entrepreneurs need ideas and proposals from many different sources generally when companies need creativity, innovation or specialized professional skills. By using CrowdSourcing you can gather ideas and suggestions from people around the world and at the same time it is a great brainstorming opportunity for generating new ideas. Technically, CrowdSourcing implies the use of an unknown and impersonal mass of people in order to complete the job at hand. Payment for the work varies depending on the project and the company seeking the solution. While some employers may pay only the best answer, others will compensate all people within the crowd that put effort into the solution. This compensation can be in the form of money, special recognition, non-cash prizes, entry tickets to cash prizes or simply the gratification of completing a complex task. In the end, one of the top benefits of utilizing CrowdSourcing is the efficient use of funds. Those who use CrowdSourcing services, also known as crowdsourcers, are motivated by the benefits of CrowdSourcing, which are that they can gather large numbers of solutions or information and that it is relatively inexpensive to obtain this work. Users are motivated to contribute to crowdsourced tasks by both intrinsic motivations, such as social contact and passing the time, and by extrinsic motivations, such as financial gain. Estells and Gonzlez (2012), after studying more than 40 definitions of CrowdSourcing, propose a new integrating definition:
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"CrowdSourcing is a type of participative online activity in which an individual, an institution, a non-profit organization, or company proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowledge, heterogeneity, and number, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task. The undertaking of the task, of variable complexity and modularity, and in which the crowd should participate bringing their work, money, knowledge and/or experience, always entails mutual benefit. The user will receive the satisfaction of a given type of need, be it economic, social recognition, self-esteem, or the development of individual skills, while the crowdsourcer will obtain and utilize to their advantage that what the user has brought to the venture, whose form will depend on the type of activity undertaken".

Evolution of CrowdSourcing
The practice of tapping a crowd has long been used by business. For example, in 1916, Planters Peanuts held an open contest to develop its logo. Whats new about CrowdSourcing today is how it uses web 2.0 technologies to rapidly and affordably reach a global crowd, engage their interest, manage and filter their ideas and feedback, and help choose the optimal scenarios to act upon. CrowdSourcing is not new - The History of CrowdSourcing (1714 to 2010)

CrowdSourcing is a buzz word that was coined in Wired Magazine by author Jeff Howe in 2006,
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but the process of CrowdSourcing was invented as early as 1714. Since then, CrowdSourcing has helped create some of the world's greatest inventions and biggest brands. This blog outlines the history of CrowdSourcing and highlights some 6 examples (historical and recent) that occurred before the term 'CrowdSourcing' existed.

1714: The Longitude Prize

In 1714, the British Government was stuck for a solution to what they called The Longitude Problem" which made sailing difficult and perilous (killing 1,000s of seamen every year). Seeking innovation, the British Government offered 20,000 for people to invent a solution. This is possibly the first ever example of CrowdSourcing. The contest was won by John Harrison, the son of a carpenter. Harrison invented the 'marine chronometer' (i.e. an accurate, vacuum sealed pocket watch. This example also highlights one of the principles of CrowdSourcing Innovation and Creativity can come from anywhere.

1936: Toyota Logo Contest

In 1936, Toyota held a logo contest to redesign its logo. They received 27,000 entries and the winning logo was the three Japanese katakana letters for Toyoda in circle, which was later modified by Risaburo Toyoda to "Toyota".

1955: The Sydney Opera House

In 1955 the Premier of NSW state of Australia, Joseph Cahill, ran a contest offering 5,000 to design a building for part of Sydney's Harbour. The contest received 233 entries from 32 countries around the world. The winning design is one of the most innovative landmarks. Architectural contests continue to be a popular model for getting buildings designed.
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2000 to 2006: YouTube, Threadless founded


During these period innovative dot coms - now bookmarked household staples - began to launch and take-off. Not always used as CrowdSourcing examples, but in reality: YouTube = crowdsourced entertainment / TV Wikipedia = crowdsourced knowledge

2002 to 2006: American Idol

In 2002, American Idol Season kicked off Kelly Clarkson's career as well as a plethora of talent contests So You think You Can Dance, Next Top Model, Masterchef. These contests, often described as 'reality TV' are, at their core, public CrowdSourcing contests that aim to produce an album, a cook book or a superstar (along with entertainment for 1 billion plus people).

2006: CrowdSourcing
Jeff Howe coins the term CrowdSourcing in Wired Magazine article in June 2006.

2006 to 2050: CrowdSourcing Explodes

An explosion of CrowdSourcing related websites - large percentage web-based start-ups now rely on "the crowd". In India, recently, best application of CrowdSourcing technique is for tackling traffic violations. The use of CrowdSourcing and social networking sites to police street traffic is slowly gaining popularity in India, the latest of a few countries to undertake this practice. The traffic police of the nation's cities include Pune, Chennai, and Delhi have partnered with Facebook and called on users to post information on any traffic violations in their neighborhood.

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Types of CrowdSourcing
In explaining the term of "CrowdSourcing", Jeff Howe has also indicated some common categories of CrowdSourcing that can be used effectively in the commercial world. Some of these are crowdvoting, wisdom of the crowd, crowdfunding, inducement prize contests and CrowdSourcing customer service.

Crowdvoting occurs when a website gathers a large group's opinions and judgment on a certain topic. selects the t-shirts it sells by having users provide designs and vote on the ones they like, which are then printed and available for purchase. Some of the other best examples have been through social media channels where big brands like Domino's Pizza, Coca Cola, Heineken and Sam Adams have crowdsourced a new pizza, song, bottle design and beer respectively. iStockPhoto provides a platform for people to upload photos and purchase them for low prices. Clients can purchase photos through credits, giving photographers a small profit. Again, the photo collection is determined by the crowd's voice for very low prices.

"Wisdom of the crowd"

Wisdom of the crowd is another type of CrowdSourcing that collects large amounts of information and aggregates it to gain a complete and accurate picture of a topic, based on the idea that a group of people is often more intelligent than an individual. Recent Examples of "Wisdom of the crowd" The wisdom of the crowd has become increasingly common. The 2011 documentary Life In a Day used this type of CrowdSourcing to collect video footage from people worldwide. Contributors from 192 countries submitted 4,500 hours of video, primarily through YouTube uploads, which the filmmakers edited to 97 minutes in order to create a cohesive documentary.
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Crowdfunding is the process of funding your projects by a multitude of people contributing a small amount in order to attain a certain monetary goal.

Crowdpurchasing means to leverage collective purchasing power to win the best possible deals.

Inducement prize contests

Web-based idea competitions or inducement prize contests often consist of generic ideas, cash prizes, and an Internet-based platform to facilitate easy idea generation and discussion. An example of these competitions includes an event like IBMs 2006 Innovation Jam, attended by over 140,000 international participants and yielding around 46,000 ideas. Open innovation platforms are a very effective way of CrowdSourcing peoples thoughts and ideas to do research and development. The company InnoCentive is a CrowdSourcing platform for corporate research and development where difficult scientific problems are posted for crowds of solvers to discover the answer and win a cash prize, which can range from $10,000 to $100,000 per challenge.

CrowdSourcing Customer Service: How may we help us?

Kaufmann and Schulze suggest that there are both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations that cause people to contribute to crowdsourced tasks, and that these factors influence different types of contributors. Intrinsic motivations are broken down into two enjoyment-based and community-based motivations.
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Enjoyment-based motivations refer to motivations related to the fun and enjoyment that the contributor experiences through their participation. Community-based motivations refer to motivations related to community participation, and include community identification and social contact. Extrinsic motivations are broken down into three categories, immediate payoffs, delayed payoffs, and social motivations. Immediate payoffs, through monetary payment, are the immediately received compensations given to those who complete tasks. Delayed payoffs are benefits that can be used to generate future advantages, such as training skills and being noticed by potential employers. Social motivations are the rewards of behaving pro-socially. Another form of social motivation is prestige or status. The International Children's Digital Library recruits volunteers to translate and review books.

The Pros of CrowdSourcing

Low cost

Efficiency Large pool of professionals as part of your project team Large quantity of ideas for your project High quantity and diversity of talented professionals Online collaboration without travel cost and time required.

Today, with all the online communication tools such as blogs, professional forums, online communities, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn every small business or entrepreneur can take advantage of the CrowdSourcing opportunities and benefit from CrowdSourcing.

The Cons of CrowdSourcing

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The major CrowdSourcing cons, risks and disadvantages come from the fact that the crowd which is part of your project is not part of your business they are not your employees and you are not able to fully control the project as you are able to do with traditional jobs and projects. Another con of CrowdSourcing is the trust and confidentiality issues when you work with a large team of people you dont even now this is a big risk and challenge for some projects.

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