Crowdsourcing: Meaning, Types, Benefits, Pros, Cons, and Future? - Asgard Times


Sunday, April 2, 2023

Crowdsourcing: Meaning, Types, Benefits, Pros, Cons, and Future?

Crowdsourcing: AsgardTimes
Crowdsourcing: AsgardTimes

What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing is a process in which a task or problem is solved by engaging a large number of people, usually via the internet, to contribute their ideas, knowledge, or expertise. It is an efficient way to gather diverse perspectives, solve complex problems, and generate innovative solutions.

The term "crowdsourcing" was coined by Jeff Howe in a 2006 article in Wired magazine, combining the words "crowd" and "outsourcing."

There are several different types of crowdsourcing, including:

Idea generation:

People contribute ideas or suggestions for a specific problem or challenge. Examples include open innovation platforms, like InnoCentive, or brainstorming sessions in online communities.

Idea generation is a type of crowdsourcing that involves gathering ideas or suggestions from a large group of people to solve a specific problem or challenge. It is a useful approach for generating fresh perspectives and innovative solutions that might not have been possible through traditional methods.

There are various ways to implement idea generation crowdsourcing, such as:

  • Open innovation platforms: These platforms allow individuals or organizations to submit a problem or challenge to a wide audience, who then submit their ideas or solutions. InnoCentive, HeroX, and IdeaConnection are examples of open innovation platforms.
  • Idea contests: Idea contests invite people to submit their ideas or solutions for a specific problem or challenge, with the winner receiving a prize or recognition. IdeaScale and IdeaChampions are examples of idea contest platforms.
  • Online communities: Online communities, such as forums, social media groups, or crowdsourcing platforms like Reddit, can be used to gather ideas from a diverse group of people.
  • Hackathons: Hackathons are events where people gather to collaborate and solve a specific problem or challenge. Participants are given a set amount of time to work on the problem and present their solutions to a panel of judges. Hackathons can be held in-person or online.

Overall, idea generation crowdsourcing can be a powerful tool for organizations and individuals seeking to tackle complex problems or generate innovative solutions. It can help to gather diverse perspectives and insights, and can result in more effective and efficient problem-solving.


Tasks are broken down into smaller, manageable pieces and distributed among a large number of people. Amazon Mechanical Turk is a popular platform for microtasking.

Microtasks refer to breaking down a larger task or project into smaller, more manageable tasks or assignments, and distributing them among a large number of individuals. These small tasks are completed independently by the workers, who are typically paid on a per-task basis.

Microtasking is a type of crowdsourcing that is often used for data entry, image tagging, content moderation, and other repetitive, low-level tasks that can be easily completed by a large number of people. Some popular microtasking platforms include Amazon Mechanical Turk, CrowdFlower, and Microworkers.

The benefits of microtasking include:

  • Faster completion times: Breaking down a large task into smaller microtasks and distributing them among a large number of people can result in faster completion times.
  • Cost-effective: Microtasking can be a cost-effective way to complete large-scale projects, as workers are paid on a per-task basis, rather than on an hourly basis.
  • Scalability: Microtasking can easily scale up or down depending on the size and complexity of the project.
  • Quality control: Microtasking platforms often include quality control mechanisms, such as peer review or automated checks, to ensure the accuracy and quality of the completed work.

However, microtasking can also have drawbacks, such as the potential for low-quality work or the need for constant supervision and monitoring. Overall, microtasking is a useful type of crowdsourcing that can be effective for certain types of tasks or projects.


Financial resources are raised from a large number of individuals to support a project, idea, or cause. Popular crowdfunding platforms include Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe.

Citizen science:

People contribute data, observations, or analysis to scientific research. Examples include Zooniverse, which allows volunteers to help with tasks like classifying galaxies, and eBird, a citizen-science project for birdwatching.

Citizen science is a type of crowdsourcing that involves engaging volunteers, often through digital platforms, in scientific research projects. Citizen science projects can range from collecting data on wildlife and ecosystems to analyzing genetic information or studying the universe.

The benefits of citizen science include:

  • Increased scientific knowledge: Citizen science can contribute to scientific knowledge by collecting and analyzing large amounts of data that might not be possible to collect by scientists alone.
  • Increased public engagement: Citizen science can increase public engagement in science and raise awareness of important scientific issues.
  • Cost-effective: Citizen science can be a cost-effective way to conduct scientific research, as it leverages the power of volunteers to collect and analyze data.
  • Diverse perspectives: Citizen science can bring in diverse perspectives and ideas that might not be present in traditional scientific research.

Examples of citizen science projects include:

  • Zooniverse: A platform that allows volunteers to contribute to scientific research by classifying galaxies, identifying animals in camera trap photos, or transcribing historical documents.
  • eBird: A project that collects data on bird sightings from around the world, which can be used to better understand bird populations and migration patterns.
  • Foldit: A game that challenges players to fold proteins in a way that is most stable, which can help researchers better understand protein structure and function.

Overall, citizen science is a valuable type of crowdsourcing that can bring together scientists and volunteers to generate new scientific knowledge and increase public engagement in science.

Design contests:

Participants submit designs or creative work in response to a specific prompt, with winners receiving prizes or recognition. Examples include 99designs and LogoTournament.

Design contests are a type of crowdsourcing that involves inviting designers or creatives to submit their work in response to a specific prompt or brief. The winner of the contest is typically awarded a prize or recognition for their work.

Design contests can be used for a wide range of creative projects, such as logo design, website design, packaging design, or product design. Some popular design contest platforms include 99designs, DesignCrowd, and LogoTournament.

The benefits of design contests include:

  • Large pool of designers: Design contests can attract a large number of designers from around the world, giving the contest organizer access to a diverse pool of talent and ideas.
  • Cost-effective: Design contests can be a cost-effective way to get high-quality design work, as designers compete for the prize rather than charging a fee upfront.
  • Multiple design options: Design contests can result in multiple design options to choose from, giving the contest organizer a wider range of choices than working with a single designer.
  • Flexibility: Design contests can be customized to meet the needs of the project, including budget, timeline, and specific design requirements.

However, design contests can also have drawbacks, such as the potential for low-quality work or the lack of collaboration between the contest organizer and designers. Overall, design contests can be a useful type of crowdsourcing for certain types of creative projects.

Collaborative writing or content creation:

Collaborative writing or content creation is a type of crowdsourcing that involves multiple individuals working together to create or edit written content, such as articles, books, or reports. Collaborative writing platforms allow multiple people to contribute to the same document, making it possible for individuals to work together in real-time and in different locations.

There are many benefits to collaborative writing or content creation, such as:

  • Diverse perspectives: Collaborative writing can incorporate a wide range of perspectives, resulting in a more comprehensive and well-rounded piece of work.
  • Increased creativity: Collaborative writing can spark new ideas and generate more creative solutions than working alone.
  • Improved efficiency: Collaborative writing can be more efficient than working alone, as multiple people can work on different parts of the document simultaneously.
  • Enhanced quality: Collaborative writing can improve the overall quality of the work, as multiple people can review and edit the document to ensure accuracy and clarity.

Examples of collaborative writing or content creation platforms include:

  • Google Docs: A widely-used platform that allows multiple users to collaborate on the same document in real-time.
  • Microsoft Teams: A collaboration platform that includes a document editing feature, allowing multiple users to work on the same document.
  • Dropbox Paper: A collaborative writing platform that allows users to work together on the same document, and integrates with other Dropbox features for easy file sharing and storage.

Overall, collaborative writing or content creation is a valuable type of crowdsourcing that can enhance creativity, efficiency, and quality in written work.

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