Crowdsourcing as a Trend?

Before we get started – let’s pose a very simple question, what does crowdsourcing mean?

Drumroll please…

Crowdsourcing, an incorrectly compounded term meant to maintain its colloquial essence, has plenty of meanings in actuality. The most prominent among them (you could probably guess) is community / the crowd.

Rather than debate the origins of the concept, it’s important to note crowdsourcing is embedded in human behavior.

Examples can be drawn from democracy, hunting and gathering and collective writing projects. As it pertains to web space culture, it’s fully integrated as a coveted value, if not a required prerequisite-attribute for the community members involved.

Crowdsourcing involves collaborative communication, online community gathering and information exchange. It has spawned consecutive years of the Linux operating system’s improvements and revamping, along with beautiful music mashups (at the chagrin of copyright hawks) and has been the lifeblood of famed websites like

Ever heard of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk)?

It allows computer programmers to coordinate the use of human intelligence to perform tasks that computers are not equipped to do…yet. This is collaborative consumption applied to computer science.

Imagine how it could impact our national systems (keep reading).

Ever heard about DARPA’s Adaptive Vehicle Make (AVM) project?

For those unaware, DARPA is America’s famed Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which can lay claim to developing the earliest workable concept models of the Internet. The AVM project enables crowdsourcing for designing a new armored vehicle.

These are a few examples among millions of how problems are solved and ideas are born through the hyper-connectedness and collaborative, voluntary approach of crowdsourcing.

Businesses can save enormous capital reserves by inviting voluntary contributions from users in the web space. IBM, for example, became a major player in helping the collaborative community development of Linux (after years of neglect). This created community growth, solved research challenges and supported IBM’s survival model of driving innovation.

The current trend for user interfaces incorporate aspects of collaboration and crowdsoucing. The reasons vary from profitability, user loyalty incentives and an enhanced user experience.

Gaming’s collaborative culture, despite intense competitiveness, involves a user base of millions who invest countless hours. Businesses dream to apply and replicate gaming loyalty to customer loyalty. Creating online social tools and projects that inspire crowdsourcing behavior is the key.

With proper promotion and value offerings like community, monetary rewards or social engagement, Crowdsourcing is not only a market trend; it’s a profit trend.

For most crowdsourcing users online, their incentive is not always profit or monetary return. For them, as it is for me, it’s about the many brilliant ideas inspired by collaboration and community.