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Crowd Sourcing; What is it and how is it done?

Crowd sourcing is where you can get work or funding (usually online) from a crowd of people. The idea is to outsource ideas, funding or even skills from outside of your business or office.

Wikipedia remains one of the most famous examples of crowd sourcing. Rather than creating an encyclopaedia alone or hiring anyone to write the articles they simply opened it to the public to come forward and create the information off of their own backs. The result of this is one of the most comprehensive on-line encyclopaedic available.

The idea behind Crowd sourcing is really quite simple. That the more ideas, hands or skills the better. By canvassing for these qualities, the end result will be superior. There are different types of crowd sourcing depending on what your business is about. For example, you could crowd source to find people with particular skills you are looking for. Graphic designers, web designers or developers may be interested in rising to the challenge of creating a logo or web page for a project that intrigues them or would be a beneficial addition to their portfolio. Not only does this mean you are giving your business a boost of awareness, but you're giving people the opportunity to come forward and provide you with ideas and suggestions you might have otherwise missed out on.

For example, the Olympics committee launched a competition for people to have a go at designing the Tokyo Olympic logo.

Crowd funding is slightly different in the way that it's asking for monetary contribution to a project or business start up. You can use a crowdfunding platform, set a goal for the amount of money you'd like to each and a deadline. Businesses that are most likely to use crowd funding include charities, film and production or start ups such as website applications or browsers.

Open innovation is a similar concept to crowd sourcing, in the way that is opens up an idea of business model to people from all aspects of business such as investors, designers, inventors and markets. The idea is that they collaborate, by pitching in with their expertise, with the idea that the end result would be a profitable business reality.

Open innovation opens up network channels meaning people from all over the world can connect and collaborate. It can also drum up interest and awareness of your business and your project.

The main benefit to crowd sourcing is the ability to receive better results, ideas and utilise other peoples skills. Results can be delivered quickly and accurately, and in a marked out time scale. The only thing you should be aware of is that organisation is key to crowd sourcing or funding. Being able to manage a host of people and make sure all ideas come together and work in harmony, is a task in itself.