37 Great Examples of Crowdsourcing
Last Updated March 15, 2017
It’s a brave new world, indeed! Data flies around the world at the speed of light and exchanging information and ideas is wise for any enterprise that wants to remain competitive. Crowdsourcing allows businesses to use the input of multiple sources, both within the corporation and externally, to develop solutions for strategic issues or to find better ways to complete tasks. This new culture of innovation, supported by crowdfunding for worthwhile projects, allows for idea collaboration and technological innovation for the greater good. Further, our increasingly mobile world population allows for people from anywhere, and with any background, to give their input on a project. We've compiled a list of some great examples of crowdsourcing. If you're looking to get started with a crowdsourcing project, check out these resources:
For seven years, students have been crowdsourcing solutions through this program at the University of Texas at Austin. The program encourages students to put their heads together and work on big ideas that have world-changing possibilities. Initially a contest where one winner would take home a $50,000 prize, the challenge has grown and now offers $350,000 worth of prizes to multiple winners, receives thousands of ideas, and helps start or grow many worthwhile businesses or non-profit organizations. Ideas can be submitted at any stage, from just a mere thought to a program that is well under way. Getting involved is easy; students simply create a page on DellChallenge.org and allow members and visitors to vote for those they like best. In 2013, winning projects included:
- Solar Conduction Dryer
- Providing food dehydrators using just solar power, helping farmers keep food spoilage down.
- Foot Soldiers
- Recycles old tires and make rubber shoes for people in need.
- Good Benefits
- Helps streamline corporate giving programs.
Large corporations see the benefits of crowdsourcing as well, and General Mills is one of those on the cutting edge. It openly seeks ideas that will help the company in many areas of its business – from ingredients to packaging to new product ideas and suggestions to improve technology or digital presence. The company credits G-WIN with helping it bring new products to market quickly. Anyone can make suggestions to General Mills on its website.
Anheuser-Busch is the leading brewer in the world, and its Budweiser brand is the best-selling beer in America. The company sought input from the best group of taste-testers it could find – its customers – before developing a craft-beer. Combining a competition between brewmasters, tastings and consumer ideas, the project had in excess of 25,000 collaborators, and resulted in the development of a golden-amber lager named Black Crown. In Brazil, AB opened a crowdsourced video-production company to utilize 35,000 videographers from around the world; it offers open innovation opportunities to help market its South America brands in fresh, new ways. Clearly, the corporate world realizes what a wealth of ideas and opinion it has been missing out on, and it stands ready to listen. The success of websites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter show that crowdfunding is available for worthwhile ideas as well. These processes are great ways to generate collaborative ideas and civic innovation and to resolve many societal and business issues, while allowing many voices to be heard. In today’s business world – when in doubt, ask for lots of input!
The Climate CoLab, housed at MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, brought more than 10,000 users to its crowdsourcing platform to devise solutions to climate change. Dr. Geoffrey Hay (University of Calgary) and his team were awarded the $10,000 Grand Prize for their Heat Energy Assessment Technology (HEAT) proposal. HEAT takes homeowners to a free Web tool where they can easily identify areas of heat loss in their homes.
The universe is a big place, and plumbing its complexities means analyzing an overwhelming amount of data. Zooniverse launched the Moon Zoo crowdsourcing project, allowing ordinary citizens to study and organize high-resolution lunar images. To date, some four million lunar images have been studied.
In this example of crowdsourcing, primary school children were asked to create “dream machine” concepts which were then vetted by college design students. High school tech students then built prototypes for everything from a self-made bed to a recycling robot.
Citizens of Cairo were asked to design solutions to a number of problems related to traffic congestion and safety as part of an open innovation competition. The winner was Beliaa, an app that automatically sends GPS data to the nearest road assistance centers when cars break down.
Here are some more examples of crowdsourcing you may find useful:
- Arcbazar - Launch design competitions to get input from architects, interor, and landscape designers all around the world.
- Co-contest - Get dozens of projects to re-design your home, office, or property.
- Picnic Green Challenge- Ideas to save the planet.
- Innovation Exchange - Open innovation challenges from all over the world. Fortune 500 companies or non-profits you will find it here.
- Open Ideo - Solve big challenges for social good.
- Eyeka - Limited number of competitions right now but we are hoping to see this one grow!
- My Starbucks Idea- Submit ideas for Starbucks products or community initiatives.
- GE Ecomagination- Submit ideas for environmentally friendly products.
- Scientific American Solve science, tech, and policy problems.
- Innocentive- Post and solve prize challenges or browse their resources.
- Idea Connection- Solve problems for monetary prizes.
- Crowd Spring - crowdsource graphic design and logos.
- 99Designs- crowdsource graphic design.
- Ideaken - collaborative crowdsourcing. Seek for solutions and solve problems.
- Kraft - crowdstorming product ideas with Kraft.
- Ideastorm- Dell idea storm process.
- Ideas Brewery- Heineken idea brewery. Create the next great beer experience.
- Innoget- research solutions platform.
- Nesta UK - Various resources on succeeding with open innovation.
- Root Cause - one stop shop for social innovation.
- Challenge.Gov - government challenges and crowd sourcing (U.S).
- Ushahidi- crowdsourcing crisis information.
- Unilever- open innovation for social good.
- Humanitarian Innovation Open innovation challenges to solve humanitarian problems.
- Start Some Good- crowdfunding for social good.
- Young Foundation - Disruptive social innovation.
- Building Change Trust- Resources for the social innovator.
- The Social Innovation Partnership - Support for social innovation projects.
- CrowdVoice - Tracking voices of protest.
- CrowdCrafting - Non-profit crowdsourcing platform with many projects.
- Casserole - Non-proft community to share extra portions of home-cooked food.
- Kopernik - Connects simple, life-changing technology with the people who need it the most.
- Open Signal - Crowdsourcing the world's wireless networks.
- Mapillary - Crowdsourced Street Level Photos.
- Be My Eyes - Lend your eyes to the blind.
- Sci Starter - A variety of science based projects looking for help from the crowd.
Looking over these examples of crowdsourcing, it’s hard to argue with success. If you haven't implemented open innovation and crowdsourcing in your innovation, it may be time to begin.
Last Updated March 15,2017