By Diego Cantu, SJG Vice President of Creative Content
“Crowdsourcing” has become one of the most popular buzzwords of today. So what exactly is crowdsourcing? MacMillan Dictionary defines it as, “trying to find a way of completing a task, a solution to a problem, etc. by asking a wide range of people or organizations if they can help, typically by using the Internet.”
Wikipedia says that “crowdsourcing is a neologistic compound of crowd and outsourcing for the act of taking tasks traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing them to a group of people or community, through an “open call” to a large group of people (a crowd) asking for contributions.”
The main idea behind the concept is to outsource for the creative intelligence of other people, for free, if possible. With crowdsourcing, it is also about creating tools that can help companies listen to what their users want, or do not want, as well as to give people the opportunity to contribute to the brand. The Apple App store, for instance, is crowdsourcing at its best. Here, thousands of free developers voluntarily work on software exclusively for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPod and iPad. They do this without receiving any sort of compensation from Apple. Of course, these developers get their share of the sales, but at their own risk; the apps they’ve programmed either pay off or they don’t. Apart from that, each new app increases the value of the product and the company, and provides an additional reason for people to buy it.
A lot of creatives freaked out with crowdsourcing and user-gen content because they thought, we thought, it was the silver bullet that would finally stop our insane howling under full-moon nights. Creative content in the sense of entertainment, advertisement and journalism is created by more than a small elitist circle of creatives behind closed doors during long brainstorming sessions. The Internet has opened the doors wide and all are invited to contribute and upload to YouTube or post on Facebook. Still, creatives don’t need to be afraid of losing their jobs, since leaving everything to the users would only end up in anarchy.