Search

Singapore\'s founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew passes away at 91
REMEMBERING LEE KUAN YEW (1923-2015)
Singapore's founding father Mr Lee Kuan Yew passes away at 91

Parliament will be open for public viewing for 24 hours daily.
1086 views

COMMENTARY
HR & EDUCATION | Contributed Content, Singapore
Published: 14 Sep 12
1887 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 »
  • No jobs posted on this category.
PRINT ISSUE »

Subscribe Now
What factors are keeping expats rooted in Singapore?

699 views

What factors are keeping expats rooted in Singapore?

520 views

Can Asian private equity outgrow the west?

193 views

MOST READ EXCLUSIVES

Singapore’s first permanent lifestyle market opens in Bukit Timah

Singapore’s first permanent lifestyle market opens in Bukit Timah

Over 20 brands and labels are gathered together under one roof.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
5 Jan 2015 | 35212 views
 

Singapore Business Review’s 2014 Class of 40 and under

Singapore Business Review’s 2014 Class of 40 and under

Meet a summa cumlaude graduate who rises from poverty to become JP Morgan’s head of corporate finance.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
12 Jan 2015 | 32694 views

Chow Tai Fook opens second store in Singapore

Chow Tai Fook opens second store in Singapore

It's a 1,000-square feet new jewellery shop on Orchard Road.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Feb 2015 | 10865 views
 

This food hub in Seah Street brings a throwback experience to dining

This food hub in Seah Street brings a throwback experience to dining

It offers an exciting lunch menu which changes every week.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
16 Jan 2015 | 7213 views

This is a woman’s world: CRIB launches Singapore’s first business and lifestyle incubator for women

This is a woman’s world: CRIB launches Singapore’s first business and lifestyle incubator for women

Find out what the three key platforms of CRIB are.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
10 Mar 2015 | 7106 views
 

Check out this integrated office cum lab of Friesland Campina in Singapore

Check out this integrated office cum lab of Friesland Campina in Singapore

A curved glass wall resulted in a 90% open-plan office.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
17 Feb 2015 | 3885 views

The New Black hits Singapore with rarest green coffee

The New Black hits Singapore with rarest green coffee

It also boasts of its Impossible Collection curated by the ‘world’s rockstar roasters'.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
5 Mar 2015 | 3709 views
 

Too many business cards? Why don’t you try Sansan’s business card management service?

Too many business cards? Why don’t you try Sansan’s business card management service?

After Singapore, this contract management company plans to expand in the APAC region.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
12 Feb 2015 | 3671 views

This startup created the world’s first bed sensor technology

This startup created the world’s first bed sensor technology

No more patients accidentally falling off hospital beds.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
14 Jan 2015 | 3138 views
 

Spencer Ogden gets funky with its newest trademark space in Singapore

Spencer Ogden gets funky with its newest trademark space in Singapore

The company invested over $1M to make this signature office possible.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
5 Feb 2015 | 3011 views

Meet INSEAD’s new chairman of the board

Meet INSEAD’s new chairman of the board

Find out how Andreas Jacobs plans to bring “business as a force for good”.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
14 Jan 2015 | 2443 views
 

What it’s like going into business with your significant other

What it’s like going into business with your significant other

A couple who founded an artisanal food outlet, P.Bistro, shares experience.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
9 Jan 2015 | 2058 views

LawCanvas saves the day: Easy legal documents in under a minute

LawCanvas saves the day: Easy legal documents in under a minute

The founders revolutionized the legal industry despite having different backgrounds.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
2 Mar 2015 | 1834 views
 

PocketMath makes buying mobile ad impressions easier

PocketMath makes buying mobile ad impressions easier

It integrates over 20 ad exchanges and offers over 20B impressions a day.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
9 Feb 2015 | 1550 views

MetLife builds its first global R&D hub

MetLife builds its first global R&D hub

It bills itself as a first-of-its-kind innovation centre for the insurance industry.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
26 Jan 2015 | 1511 views
 

The heat is on: This office literally gets a bit hot for their green drive

The heat is on: This office literally gets a bit hot for their green drive

Discover how they execute their green initiatives in the office.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
22 Jan 2015 | 1437 views

FTMSGlobal Academy Singapore launches new weekend MBA

FTMSGlobal Academy Singapore launches new weekend MBA

The course fee is below $20,000.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
8 Jan 2015 | 1190 views
 

Here’s how migrants can be sure their loved ones back home paid the doctor a visit

Here’s how migrants can be sure their loved ones back home paid the doctor a visit

This NRI-focused startup also gives migrants monthly feedback from the doctor.

by KRISANA GALLEZO
7 Jan 2015 | 1174 views
close Don't Show Again

STAY INFORMED! Get our free weekly newsletter