Have you ever been caught up in a sudden surge within a crowd, when it all suddenly moves, temporarily sweeping you off your feet, making the pulse race a little more until you actually begin to enjoy the sensation?
It brings out a sudden rush of emotions. It can be intense, it moves you in a particular direction, often you are struggling to regain control, and everything around you heightens in your awareness. You love it or you hate it.
Either way it gives a real rush.
Imagine harnessing all this sudden energy in different ways. Crowdsourcing often taps into these rushes of energy, insights and excitement The goal here is to move the crowd towards a new direction in their collective thinking to solve a problem.
To get a diverse group of individuals caught up, you need to really give them something they need to go too and want to participate in. The getting caught up in a football match, or simply letting yourself completely go at a concert, can be as nearly as emotional for you as for the performers.
Crowdsourcing is going one better
Yet in crowdsourcing you simply can go one better, you are the one performing, you are participating and delivering your ideas, thoughts, solutions. Others are reacting, responding, picking up on this surge of energy and collectively you begin to build something that answers a specific challenge. It actually becomes an even better rush.
Crowdsourcing today is being used across many challenges that are tackling social issues, global concerns, individual community or organizational questions that need “our” opinion and engagement. The concern for me is as we have this greater access to technology, crowdsourcing is spawning everywhere. How do you break through and attract the crowd?
Knowing what we are getting into becomes critical to participate
Designing the challenge becomes critical. To appeal we need to know what we are moving towards to feel we can freely take part. This is becoming much harder work as crowdsourcing reaches across so much and often is seeking out the opinion of those that are harder to reach. It has to separate itself out, my standing out from the crowd, by its needed ‘litmus test’ of being a crowd-worthy distinctive and simple idea that offers a concept that captures our imagination and the wish to participate.
We need it to always know if it is crowd-worthy
These crowd-worthy challenges trigger us into action. We just simply want to take part, to contribute. The fun begins for the organizers. They really need to offer a compelling set of reasons not just for us to participate initially but find the multiple ways to hook us in to continue to help in building from all the collective efforts. They need to provide a robust platform that responds to this sudden rush of energy but also find ways to keep it generating and moving along, in contributions and activity spiraling up the engagements, exchanges and growing involvement and interest.
It often does need a really significant thinking through if you want to really delve into a real challenge; it can equally be a challenge that is simply ‘put out there’ to gather and illicit ‘quick’ opinions. There is our need to understand “the shades of crowd separation” on who it might attract and what can be expected as the response and then be quick enough to adapt if it draws in suddenly really different participants.
Crowdsourcing is straddling so much today.
We need to tackle globalization issues, we need to come together to solve problems that impact lives, we worry over security, we seek to customize many things, we seek alternatives, we are tackling convergence in different ways, we are seeking out the freeing of our time far more than in the past.
Equally crowdsourcing is probing the experience economy, wanting to understand authenticity, explore privacy matters, pushing to form new connections, curate and filter lots of different stuff, much of what we are doing is blurring and crowdsourcing is attempting to pick this apart to help.
So where is crowdsourcing heading?
There are inherent risks in ‘casting a wide net’ as much can slip through the netting if you are chasing the big fish, you miss often the tastiest and sort after. Challenges are emerging in so many different ways and where you go and ‘fish’ will often determine the catch.
The question is increasingly becoming who do we use as crowd providers to help us in our challenges? The risk of over-hype, of contributor fatigue is partly driving the industry offering ‘crowd solutions’ so spend time getting to understand what is being offered to see that it delivers on your crowd sourcing needs. Do remember you need to have a good ‘going in plan’ even if this changes once you talk with the specialists in this field.
These specialists are the ones that can separate rhetoric, provide a robust understanding of all the needs, from building an increasing “governance of understanding” They work constantly on rules, language, technology, outreach, listening, content provision and focus intent. They provide a robust platform and good analytical capability to be a partner of choice, offering the venue the crowd wants to ‘surge’ towards.
That is yet again, another rush to stand out in a crowd, to be at the front in the ability to provide a comprehensive package and knowledge, to be able to ‘marshal’ the event, to give the best possible experience for the crowd to participate and contribute .
There are some interesting times for all those wanting to be in the crowd or organizing the events, making it a dedicated time and a great experience.