September 4, 2008
Crowdsourcing, the Power of Many to Achieve Better Results than the Few
Crowdsourcing originated from open source computer programmers who showed that a community of like-minded peers could create better applicatons than Microsoft. An unintended consequence of market domination, crowdsourceing is now viewed as the application of the open-source idea to any field. See Jeff Howe's landmark Wired article, The Rise of Crowdsourcing (2006). From open source shoe design to court opinion metadata checking by law librarians (see John Joergensen's Aug. 21, 2008 law-lib list post), "the essence of crowdsourcing is to take an overwhelming task, and by breaking it up into little chunks and distributing it to a large number of people, it becomes feasible." Quoting Howe in his recent interview with CNET News' Daniel Terdiman, Q&A: Jeff Howe on crowdsourcing.
Howe's new book, Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business (Crown Business, Aug. 26, 2008), makes "the compelling case for the power of far larger communities of interest," writes Wharton School professor of management Michael Useem. "He shows in Crowdsourcing .. that the right community with the right incentives can often invent, write, and run research and business initiatives more effectively and less expensively than traditional enterprise."
From Howe's Crowdsourcing: "The amount of knowledge and talent dispersed among the human race has always outstripped our capacity to harness it. Crowdsourcing corrects that—but in doing so, it also unleashes the forces of creative destruction." [JH]
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