@DBrabham’s “Crowdsourcing” Book

daren-brabham-crowdsourcing-books-photoSince Jeff Howe’s article (2006) and book (2008) on crowdsourcing, journalists and researchers have widely been using the term. In every article I read, from blog posts to academic writings, Howe is always given as a reference. The fact that most people relied on a magazine article and a business book gave birth to a variety of conflicting definitions of crowdsourcing (with or without Wikipedia, Linux, or YouTube) which made it really hard to understand for the layperson who didn’t have time to make her/his own opinion.

But one researcher, who wrote his doctoral dissertation about crowdsourcing, provided a clear definition from the start (which was as early as 2008): Daren Brabham. assistant professor in the School of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He just wrote a book, simply called Crowdsourcing, published in MIT Press’ Essential Knowledge Series, about what crowdsourcing is, and what it isn’t. I hope it will be used next to Howe’s article (2006) and book (2008) in forthcoming writings about crowdsourcing, because it clearly dots the i’s.

Continue reading →

How Crowdsourcing is Used in Video Advertising

My presentation at the IMMAA Conference in Lisbon (you can turn up the volume, it’s a little low)

Broadband internet coverage, mobile internet access, ubiquitous mobile devices… a variety of factors allow us to consume video more than ever before in the young internet history. Brands have discovered that video advertising is seen as a particularly effective way to promote their products and services. WARC recently reported that brands’ spending on online video advertising is expected to increase 41% in 2013 to $4.1 bn, according to figures from eMarketer.

But how can they produce quality video content at an affordable cost? One way to do that is to crowdsource video content production. In other words, launch online video contests. How is crowdsourcing used in the production of video advertising today? In an attempt to understand this subject better, Rosemary Kimani and I have written a book chapter about it. We have identified 4 crowdsourcing models in the current video advertising landscape. Continue reading →

The role of randomness in crowdsourcing

app-contest-dice illustration

I’ve just read a very interesting paper about crowdsourcing, authored by four researchers from Vienna (Austria). It’s called “Does god play dice?” Randomness vs. deterministic explanations of idea originality in crowdsourcing (PDF), will be presented in June at the 35th DRUID Celebration Conference in Barcelona (Spain), and argues that the originality of ideas in crowdsourcing contests is largely random (not determined by skills, expertise, creativity or motivations of participants or other deterministic factors). To come up with these results, they simulated an app contest sponsored by Apple and Orange.

Continue reading →

The dynamics of backer support in crowdfunding: Findings from Kickstarter

Image via agbeat.com

While I am more familiar with creative crowdsourcing, in this post I’d like to present the findings of a research paper about another form of crowdsourcing: crowdfunding. The paper (“Crowdfunding Creative Ideas: The Dynamics of Project Backers in Kickstarter“) has just been finished by Barry Bayus (whose paper about Dell Ideastorm I also blogged about) and his colleague Venkat Kuppuswamy, both professors at the Kenan Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. The authors highlight some interesting facts, revealing how psychology impacts backing behavior on Kickstarter. It hasn’t been published yet, it’s an early working paper, but the findings still hold true! Here are some of them.

Continue reading →

Crowdsourcing article in Health Promotion Practice

health-promotion-practice-crowdsourcingI’d like to share an article that I recently co-authored with Claudia Parvanta (University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA, USA) and Heidi Keller (Heidi Keller Consulting, Olympia, WA, USA) that has been published in Health Promotion Practice. It’s called Crowdsourcing 101: A Few Basics to Make You the Leader of the Pack and is a short “how to” article of the social marketing and health communication section (it’s not a reasearch article, but I thought it would be interesting to share anyway).

It includes a definition of crowdsourcing, a description of crowdsourcing in the US public sector, an explanation of the different forms of crowdsourcing (crowd funding, crowd labor, crowd research and creative crowdsourcing) and – last but not least – a set of tips on how to get results from creative crowdsourcing. One of the theories is the 4F motivation theory that comes from my research at eYeka, but we also cite Carl Esposti’s crowdsourcing.org as a great resource for all matters crowdsourcing, and Doug Williams’ Co-Creation Vendors Forrester Wave.

–> Here’s the citation link to the article: Crowdsourcing 101

When crowdsourcing participants co-author a research paper in Nature

Here’s a great talk by Seth Cooper and Firas Khatib (University of Washington) who describe the massive possibilities of crowdsourced games like Foldit (“Solve Puzzles for Science“) at TEDx Panthéon Sorbonne. Foldit, which results from part of an experimental research project from the University of Washington, is an online puzzle video game about protein folding centered around folding the structure of selected proteins to the best of the player’s ability (see it in action in this video).

It received big coverage recently when Foldit gamers have helped unlock the structure of an AIDS-related enzyme that the scientific community had been unable to unlock for a decade. The resulting research paper, Crystal structure of a monomeric retroviral protease solved by protein folding game players (PDF), has been published in Nature and is co-authored by the participating Foldit teams “Foldit Contenders Group” and “Foldit Void Crushers Group.” A great example of the power of crowd-based collaboration!

Update (Feb 12th 2013): Another research paper has just been published in Nature, showing that using crowdsourcing platforms such as TopCoder, an alternative to Foldit, yields a whopping 970 fold increase in speed for big data genomics sequencing algorithm. Here’s the citation: Lakhani, K. R., Boudreau, K. J., Loh, P.-R., Backstrom, L., Baldwin, C., Lonstein, E., Lydon, M., et al. (2013). Prize-based contests can provide solutions to computational biology problems. Nature biotechnology, 31(2), 108–11. doi:10.1038/nbt.2495

The concept of the crowd: From troublemaker to problem-solver

Obama speaking in front of a crowd

Imagie via mrsmart.wordpress.com

What exactly is a crowd? Wikipedia says it’s “a large and definable group of people,” underlining that it’s a different concept than the mob (the so-called lower orders of people in general) or the masses (everybody in the context of general public). This post is not about the concept of the crowd in general, but about an academic paper that examined how the sociological concept of the crowd evolved over time. In Reconfiguring the sociology of the crowd: Exploring crowdsourcing, Mark N. Wexler from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada) discusses the way in which the crowdsourcing trend reconfigures the classical sociological treatment of the crowd.
Continue reading →