Ingredients for Successful Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing for policymaking combines the aspects of knowledge gathering and democratic deliberation and in this way, provides a path for knowledge-sharing and space for public debate that can impact policy creation. Use of crowdsourcing in policymaking produces useful information about an issue and a deliberative setting that involves more people in the discussion of policy issues benefits society. However, crowdsourcing relies on a sincere commitment from the process initiator for its success and failure. Crowdsourcing needs to be agile and capable of reacting quickly to incidents that may reduce the effectiveness of the process. Here we discuss several factors that help to determine the degree of success in the crowdsourcing process:

Own the recipe: Commitment

It is the responsibility of the organiser to stay committed throughout the process and ensure its successful implementation. Solutions to the problems that the crowdsourcing process is expected to address are more likely to be obtained if the initiator demonstrates the high level of sincerity and commitment to a process.

Heat your oven to 180c: Goal and Sequence Clarity

With every user in a crowdsourcing process at some level a citizen, it is essential to design a citizen-centric, user-friendly crowdsourcing process. It is essential to have a clear understanding of the desired outcome/s of the process. What is the crowdsourcing process expected to generate? Ideas, experiences, knowledge… what? It is the goal of the process which shapes the timeline of the process as well as its sequences. The project needs to convey with clarity the purpose of the process, the activities that the users are required to take part in and the consequences that are likely to result.

Cut into small pieces: Communication

A crowdsourcing process does not come into effect on its own. It is neither automated nor cannot “take off” immediately after launch. The success of a crowdsourcing process depends on the level of awareness that is created right from the commencement through to the completion of the project. Participants are contacted via several platforms including social media, events, blogs, mainstream media, and networks. It is through the establishment of active communication channels in a wide range of societal fields that participants can be contacted and invited to join the crowdsourcing process. These same methods also allow for existing members to be contacted and updated regarding progress and developments. Crowdsourcing introduces a new culture, and it is evident why the first crowdsourcing processes often fail to generate a remarkable degree of participation. It takes time for people come to become cognisant of a project and comfortable enough to participate.

Swirl the pan: Process Management

The strong online presence of the organisers is one of the most powerful drivers of a crowdsourcing process. The crowdsourcing community demands responsiveness on a continuous basis, and the conversation that happens on the platform must be continuously reviewed by responding to queries promptly, deleting inappropriate content and segregating ideas and comments into different categories. This demands the involvement of human resources. It is the responsibility of the community manager to monitor adherence to the Code of Communication (an agreed upon code of conduct regulating participant interaction with the project and each other). The platform must be equipped with a feature which allows for the categorisation of topics that are not related to the scope of the crowdsourcing process to prevent the conversation from deviating too far from the central point of investigation/inquiry.

Bake in the oven: Duration

A crowdsourcing process must be designed with a definite time frame, one that is clearly communicated to the participants. Participants are more likely to engage with a time-driven process than an open-ended project. If a crowdsourcing process comprises of several stages, the duration of each stage should be specified clearly. The methods used in the crowdsourcing process may need to be modified based on the goals and the type of crowdsourcing deployed. A crowdsourcing process may take the form of a short, intense campaign stretching only a matter of a few weeks. On the other hand, there may be projects, such as efforts to gather signatures for petitions, which may remain open for several months. When a crowdsourcing process stretches longer, interim reports and summaries about the outcomes must be published.

Whisk in a separate bowl: Offline Events

Crowdsourcing methods can be successfully promoted through offline events. Participants can be invited to offline events and to take part in tasks that are delegated through the online platform. Participants can also meet the organisers face to face and seek clarifications as well as provide feedback about the process.

Remove and allow to cool: Process Analysis and Monitoring

Analysis of outcomes during and after the process forms an essential ingredient for the success of the crowdsourcing process. After the completion of the crowdsourcing process, the issues are compiled in the shape of a report and are published online. This allows the participants to give a final round of feedback and see how the overall report is received amongst other members. When the crowdsourcing process is completed, spreading information about the next step becomes critical. It is important to report success in implement recommendation or actions from the report, failing to do so fails to take advantage of the greater by-product of crowdsourcing — an engaged, committed and proven crowd of participants.

Taste test with friends: User-friendly Technical Interface

User-centricity is the fundamental approach adopted during the designing of the user interface. Participants may not have previous experience in crowdsourcing, and hence, the technological platform should build on simplistic, familiar. To allow for changes and adaptation during the project the platform must be constructed with flexible technical applications.

MindHive Academy comes to Sydney.

MindHive Academy is a series of courses that teaches individuals to bring crowdsourcing into their department, faculty, or organisation and how to plan, build, and execute a crowdsourcing project.

17 and 18 April 2018 | 9:00am — 4:00pm
Level 1, 20 Bond Street, Sydney
1 and 2 day options available

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The MindHive Leadership will disrupt your thinking on the mega-emergence of crowds in solving the unsolvable problems. Learn to use the crowd as your innovation partner. Develop your ability and tools to lead, innovate and harness critical expertise to lead in today’s digital age.

Listen to Bruce discuss problem solving and collective intelligence on ABC National Radio’s How to problem solve — the ultimate problem on Future Tense with Antony Funnell.

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