Search

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 14 Sep 12
1597 views


Vijoy Varghese

Crowdsourcing – Social Bane or Boon?

BY VIJOY VARGHESE

Crowdsourcing is a process of outsourcing tasks to groups of people. It differentiates itself from its better known cousin, Outsourcing by getting the task done through undefined segments of society rather than employees of an organization.

To an IT professional, any form of sourcing is a business proposition and even in this context it would be naïve to think otherwise. The sarcasm is partially right though Crowdsourcing is more famous hitherto for being instrumental in national uprisings.

The only obvious technology shade, this process imbibes is from social media. That being said, there are start-ups and smaller technology companies which have leveraged crowdsourcing as part of business model.

Rather for some, it is core business model. So the potential of this social tool is not oblivious to the technology and business community but it’s critical to construe its potential impact and govern its amorphousness.

Professor Jeff Howe coined the term “Crowdsourcing” in 2006. So does that make it a recent phenomenon and an internet revolution? Let us rise above this fallacy as there are number of notable examples of projects in the past that utilized distributed people to help accomplish tasks.

Let me substantiate it through a classic incident that occurred in 1906. It pertains to a country fair at which attendees were invited to guess the weight of a large ox. Cajoled by a cash prize, about 800 people made guesses, though no one got it right.

Subsequently, a statistician analysed the written guesses and discovered something shocking: the average of all the guesses was a mere one pound away from the exact weight of the ox. Bottom-line? Sometimes a crowd can be smarter than any one of its members, even when they're not actually working together.

Wikipedia was the first real crowd sourced internet project that gained success in the contemporary world.

Along with Crowdsourcing, Jeff Howe has also indicated other categories of crowdsourcing:

Crowdvoting, Crowdfunding etc. There are various forms to empower groups of people to perform a task, but one of the most salient and common attribute of this social tool is Transparency-An unbiased approach to influence an acceptable outcome.

Ironically, this attribute also represents the thin line betwixt Crowdsourcing being a social bane or boon.

While Crowdsourcing resulted in conducive social uprisings like Arab Spring, it’s also been haplessly exploited to create ethnic mayhem like the recent incident of terrorizing citizens from the north east provinces of India. Transparency fosters an environment of faith and trust which unfortunately can be influenced either ways. That raises a justified alarm on its credibility and impact.

So is there a way to steer this volatility into a tractable state? Technology can play a critical role as a conduit and a catalyst to govern crowdsourcing. While technology is no virgin itself, marred with hackers and viruses, the solace is that it can be regulated, comparatively.

Companies like Quirky and Local Motors are industrial design companies, which uses crowdsourcing to decide on products to design and manufacture, one of the best examples of how technology wrapped crowdsourcing can harness innovation.

Taking this a notch up are some countries that have successfully married technology with crowdsourcing for an even wider impact. Singapore has recently launched a collaborative master plan dubbed eGov2015 which aims to connect government agencies to its citizens using a variety of social media and crowdsourcing platforms.

The ultimate goal is for Singapore to end up with “a Collaborative Government that Co-creates and Connects with People.”

While technology, as mentioned above can cater to a positive and regulated impact of Crowdsourcing, the challenges pertaining to Confidentiality, IPR etc remains at large. But those are subset opportunities up for the grab. Business breeds business. So in a nutshell, a social process like Crowdsourcing with technology padding can produce a disruptive but governed business model!

 

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

Vijoy Varghese

Vijoy Varghese

Vijoy Varghese is the Vice President - Asia Pacific for Genpact.

Contact Information



Sign up for our newsletter

 

Do you know more about this story? Contact us anonymously through this link.

Click here to learn about advertising, content sponsorship, events & rountables, custom media solutions, whitepaper writing, sales leads or eDM opportunities with us.

To get a media kit and information on advertising or sponsoring click here.

Tags: Vijoy Varghese, crowdsourcing, outsourcing, crowdvoting, crowdfunding

LATEST HR & EDUCATION JOBS »
PRINT ISSUE »

Subscribe Now
Trains, planes, automobiles and drones

118 views

As goes Hong Kong, so goes Singapore?

979 views

Office property shows no signs of a slowdown

255 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

Singapore’s 20 hotels with most expensive buffet lunches

Singapore’s 20 hotels with most expensive buffet lunches

What is for lunch?

by KRISANA GALLEZO
6 Jun 2014 | 165108 views
 

Singapore’s 20 most expensive hotel suites

Singapore’s 20 most expensive hotel suites

Guess which tops the list at S$20,000 a night.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
30 May 2014 | 139857 views

Singapore’s 18 MBA programmes under $30,000

Singapore’s 18 MBA programmes under $30,000

The cheapest is at SGD15,000.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
17 Jun 2014 | 101907 views
 

10 hottest ad execs and marketers under 40

10 hottest ad execs and marketers under 40

Find out who made it to the list.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
14 May 2014 | 79427 views

Singapore’s 10 most expensive MBA Programmes

Singapore’s 10 most expensive MBA Programmes

The costliest is being offered at over $100,000.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Jun 2014 | 77503 views
 

Singapore’s 10 hottest 40 and under restaurateurs

Singapore’s 10 hottest 40 and under restaurateurs

The list includes a restaurateur as young as 27.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
3 Jul 2014 | 36507 views

Singapore's 7 hot new restaurants in May

Singapore\'s 7 hot new restaurants in May

Have you tried them all?

by KRISANA GALLEZO
5 Jun 2014 | 21901 views
 

Singapore’s 8 hot new restaurants in June

Singapore’s 8 hot new restaurants in June

Have you dropped by to check them out?

by KRISANA GALLEZO
3 Jul 2014 | 20625 views

Korea’s Yoogane to open second outlet in Singapore

Korea’s Yoogane to open second outlet in Singapore

More outlets are soon to come.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
29 May 2014 | 15018 views
 

Pratt & Whitney Singapore office makes you feel like you’re in the outer space

Pratt & Whitney Singapore office makes you feel like you’re in the outer space

Take a sneak peek.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
25 Jun 2014 | 12579 views

Towers Watson Singapore’s Spa Room allows staff to regenerate during lazy hours

Towers Watson Singapore’s Spa Room allows staff to regenerate during lazy hours

Also, check out awesome photos of redesigned meeting rooms and clubhouse.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
9 Jul 2014 | 9579 views
 

Taiwan’s Sufood hit Singapore

Taiwan’s Sufood hit Singapore

Eight more outlets coming in five years.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
12 Jun 2014 | 6766 views

Find out how 3 young men at 20s founded a startup

Find out how 3 young men at 20s founded a startup

At 21, they built a job portal to help young people find their jobs.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
10 Jul 2014 | 3164 views
 

What 3 market leaders can tell you about price comparison sites in Singapore

What 3 market leaders can tell you about price comparison sites in Singapore

Financial price comparison sites face lack of consumer’s confidence.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
10 Jul 2014 | 2827 views

Singapore startup builds world’s first crowdpricing platform

Singapore startup builds world’s first crowdpricing platform

Here’s how you could end up paying less.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
29 May 2014 | 1463 views
 

RIP Tiger Mandala: What carrier is next to die?

RIP Tiger Mandala: What carrier is next to die?

See why Singapore based carriers are the least advantaged.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Jun 2014 | 1452 views

Meet the man who wants to change mobile networking in Singapore

Meet the man who wants to change mobile networking in Singapore

It’s all about ‘the art of click'.

by STAFF REPORTER
7 May 2014 | 1435 views
 

I bet you’ll cry after watching this: Singaporeans say ‘thank you’ to migrant workers

I bet you’ll cry after watching this: Singaporeans say ‘thank you’ to migrant workers

It has been viewed and shared nearly 425,000 times.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
27 Jun 2014 | 1394 views

Singpost acquires Store House in Hong Kong for $12.2m

Singpost acquires Store House in Hong Kong for $12.2m

Here's how management compares HK's self storage market with Singapore's.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
11 Jul 2014 | 1218 views
 

Might as well say, what the :pluck?

Might as well say, what the :pluck?

Ann Siang Hill and Club Street welcome a new 45-seat dining enclave.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Jun 2014 | 1185 views

KepLand in the spotlight: After Equity Plaza, what's next to sell?

KepLand in the spotlight: After Equity Plaza, what\'s next to sell?

Keppel Land determined to hold its stake in MBFC Tower 3.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Jun 2014 | 1134 views
 

See how 99.co plans to pacify exasperated house-hunters in Singapore

See how 99.co plans to pacify exasperated house-hunters in Singapore

Tired of bogus listings?

by CARMINA JARIEL
22 May 2014 | 1126 views

Take a tour at Potato Head Folk’s whimsical dining enclave

Take a tour at Potato Head Folk’s whimsical dining enclave

Murals on the walls inspired by 1930s children’s books are fascinating.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
10 Jul 2014 | 996 views
 

Experience in 3D how your neighborhood will look like if sea levels rise

Experience in 3D how your neighborhood will look like if sea levels rise

This site is hitting almost a million unique visitors already.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
13 Jun 2014 | 990 views

Check out this WhatsApp like program for online chatting

Check out this WhatsApp like program for online chatting

This startup is on its final stages of closing $500,000 fund.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
19 Jun 2014 | 870 views
 

NUS alumni launch Singapore’s first business-sourcing platform

NUS alumni launch Singapore’s first business-sourcing platform

Its total seed funding now exceeded $100,000.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Jun 2014 | 832 views

Check how this campaign compelled many Singaporeans to quit smoking

Check how this campaign compelled many Singaporeans to quit smoking

It claims of reversing five-year upward trend in smoking.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
20 Jun 2014 | 776 views
 

Get a taste of this new food hub offering in-house brewed beer

Get a taste of this new food hub offering in-house brewed beer

See how a game developer and an aircraft engineer pursue their passion for cooking.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
19 Jun 2014 | 707 views

Meet the man behind homegrown K.G. Tan & Co. PAC

Meet the man behind homegrown K.G. Tan & Co. PAC

The rest is history after he founded the firm in 2006.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
25 Jun 2014 | 686 views
 

AdHocSpace creates first short-term space booking portal in Asia

AdHocSpace creates first short-term space booking portal in Asia

Will it become the AirBnB for short-term commercial space rental?

by KRISANA GALLEZO
12 Jun 2014 | 609 views
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter