Crowdsourcing has become very popular in recent years, but it has actually been around for quite a while. Used to design the Australian flag, the Sydney Opera House, and even the Icelandic constitution, there is a lot about crowdsourcing you may be surprised to learn.
1. It has been around since the 1930’s: Toyota crowdsourced its first logo and brand name in 1936, in what is widely regarded as the first example of modern crowdsourcing. Toyota’s open call for ideas received over 27,000 entries!
2. Crowdsourcing is HUGE in China: China’s largest crowdsourcing agency, Zhubajie, has almost 8 million members — that’s roughly twice the number of workers that McDonalds and Walmart have combined worldwide.
3. Australia is a world leader in crowdsourcing: Aussie crowdsourcing companies are taking the world by storm! Themeforest is dominating the WordPress theme template design market and Kaggle is home to more than 260,000 data scientists, making it the largest community of its kind in the world. Australia also boasts some of the largest design crowdsourcing sites in the world, including DesignCrowd and Freelancer.
4. Big business loves it: Old school market research used to drain thousands of dollars from marketing budgets for very little gain — finally there is an alternative! Whether you need help choosing a color for your logo or ideas for new products, crowdsourcing provides more valuable information for far less money. According to Interbrand, nine of the world’s ten biggest brands are now known to use crowdsourcing!
5. Small businesses love it too: According to Forbes, 80 percent of crowdsourcing is done by small businesses and startups, likely because it provides a cost-effective way to stay up to date by leveraging the skills of a specialized crowd and compete with larger brands.
6. It is attracting a criminal element: The power of crowdsourcing hasn’t been lost on criminals, with some organized crime groups now known to outsource risky elements of their enterprises. In one infamous case, a bank robber even crowdsourced his escape!
7. The US Navy crowdsourced their anti-piracy strategy: If you have ever felt like a videogame you were playing was just like real life, you may not be far off. The US Navy once created a pirate game based on real scenarios so that they could study the most effective strategies used by gamers and put them into practice.
8. Crowdsourcing is unraveling the mysteries of science: Science and crowdsourcing have a long and fruitful history of collaboration. NASA is famous for its use of crowdsourcing to stay on the cutting edge of innovation and Google’s Stardroid project is using the power of the crowd to map the sky. Crowdsourcing games are even helping unravel the secrets of human traits via games such as Foldit and Phylo.
9. It is a fast and effective translator: CAPTCHA codes aren’t just a way to tell humans and computers apart online, they are part of an epic crowdsourced translation project run by Google. CAPTCHA codes are used 200 million times each day and digitized 20 years of The New York Times in just a few months!
10. The crowd is often smarter than the experts: On the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, the crowd reigns supreme. Over the years, when contestants have been given the choice between calling an expert and asking the crowd, the expert was right 65 percent of the time and, the crowd 91 percent. Books like the bestselling The Wisdom of the Crowds by James Surowiecki provide tons of examples of crowd intelligence.
When dealing with almost any problem two heads are always better than one, but when you tap into the collective power of thousands anything is possible!