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Crowdsourcing and Outsourcing

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The term ‘Crowdsourcing’ is a combination of the word ‘crowd’ and ‘outsourcing’. It means when an institution outsource a function once performed by employees to an undefined and large network of people in the form of an open call (Howe, 2006). Another definition of crowdsourcing is that it is a participative online activity in which a party proposes to a group of individuals of varying knowledge, and they undertake the task voluntarily (Estellés-Arolas & González-Ladrón-de-Guevara, 2012). Crowdsourcing bring benefits to the society, by increasing the efficiency of businesses, developing new ideas for many fields and creating collective knowledge of the whole community.

Crowdsourcing can help businesses to improve by enhancing the cost-effectiveness of their operations. In the past, when a company needed a design or solution, employing professionals with considerable amount of expense is indispensable. Now, since the public is accessible from the Internet without a high cost, firms can bring up the problems online for the crowd to solve. The companies provide incentives, such as cash prize, gifts, discounts and a real product of their designs, to the online users. By giving incentives to the crowd,  they propose their own ideas, provide feedback and help decide the final output. This can significantly reduce the cost in various areas, including research and development, design, testing and marketing. Designhill, Flickr Creative Commons, RedesignMe are some of the famous website of crowdsourcing.

Crowdsourcing not only interest companies, but also the general public. Crowdfunding is a type of crowdsourcing, where people post their new innovation online, so others would provide funding for them to make it become a reality. Kickstarter is the most famous crowdfunding website. Since their first launched on 2009, 14million people have proposed ideas, $3.4billion has been pledge and more than 130 thousand of projects have been successfully funded (Kickstarter,2017). Some other examples of crowdfunding website includes Indiegogo, RocketHub, FundRazr, GoGetFunding. Many of the projects has enhance the quality of living like helping disabilities, and making people’s life more convenient.

The first appearance of the concept crowdsourcing was back in 1714, which is ‘The longitude problem’. This problem was encountered by the British Government, which seamen experienced difficulties in sailing that caused more than a thousand deaths per year. The Government granted £20,000 for the person who can provide a solution for it. Eventually, the award was won by an English carpenter named John Harrison who invented a marine chronometer to solve the problem of calculating longitude in the ocean (Garrigos-Simon, Gil-Pechuán & Estelles-Miguel, 2015). Because the British Government could not easily found a person who can solve the issue, they outsourced it to the public. The public handed in their own solution to the government, and they selected the best one to give out the prize. In a world with unadvanced technology, this lowered much of their money and time cost of searching experts and developing the solution.

As the technology is more and more advanced, crowdsourcing can be used in various ways and areas. Areas ranging from science and academic study, to entrepreneurship and innovation technology. The internet can facilitate the creation of collective knowledge, and allow all types of people from all culture and different background to contribute their own wisdom to the world (Ferrari & Fidanboylu, 2013). In recent years, crowdsourcing has already helped a lot of discoveries. For instance, NASA has organized an astronomy photo project, which asks internet users to try to identify the location of the photo taken from space (Wolford, 2014). This speeds up the process that the scientists have to deal with, since the crowd is available for help.



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