New book: "Crowdsourcing"

New book by Jean-Fabrice Lebraty, Katia Lobre-Lebraty on Crowdsourcing: “Crowdsourcing is a relatively recent phenomenon that only appeared in 2006, but it continues to grow and diversify (crowdfunding, crowdcontrol, etc.). This book aims to review this concept and show how it leads to the creation of value and new business opportunities.
Chapter 1 is based on four examples: the online-banking sector, an informative television channel, the postal sector and the higher education sector. It shows that in the current context, for a company facing challenges, the crowd remains an untapped resource. The next chapter presents crowdsourcing as a new form of externalization and offers definitions of crowdsourcing. In Chapter 3, the authors attempt to explain how a company can create value by means of a crowdsourcing operation. To do this, authors use a model linking types of value, types of crowd, and the means by which these crowds are accessed.
Chapter 4 examines in detail various forms that crowdsourcing may take, by presenting and discussing ten types of crowdsourcing operation. In Chapter 5, the authors imagine and explore the ways in which the dark side of crowdsourcing might be manifested and Chapter 6 offers some insight into the future of crowdsourcing.
1. A Turbulent and Paradoxical Environment.
2. Crowdsourcing: A New Form of Externalization.
3. Crowdsourcing and Value Creation.
4. Forms of Crowdsourcing.
5. The Dangers of Crowdsourcing.
6. The Future of Crowdsourcing.”

Chicago Works For You

“Chicago Works For You is a citywide dashboard with ward-by-ward views of service delivery in Chicago. …The homepage is a citywide map with a daily summary of all service requests submitted, by service type and ward.Dark lines under and up-arrows next to a request type means there were more requests of that type on that date than average. The longer the line, the higher above average. Highest above average is highlighted on the map as default. Click any service request type to see the raw numbers and averages. The legend in the lake shows you the number ranges for each type in each ward. Click any service type to see those numbers for any day….
This data comes directly from the City of Chicago’s Open311 API. Chicago’s Open311 API can be used to both view 311 request data as well as enter new requests directly into the system. In 2012, the City of Chicago became a Code for America partner city. A team of four technologists worked to build an Open311 system for Chicago that would help residents track what was happening with their service requests. Through a grant from Smart Chicago the team built Chicago Service Tracker which shows each step the city takes to resolve a 311 request. This also enabled all the 311 data to be accessible on the city’s data portal….
The Smart Chicago Collaborative is a civic organization devoted to using technology to make lives better in Chicago. We were formed to address the challenge of the lack of broadband Internet access for all Chicagoans. More broadly, we work to apply the transformative power of technology to solve problems for the people of Chicago.
We are a startup that was founded in part by our municipal government and nurtured by some of its most venerable institutions. Our founding partners are the City of Chicago, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and The Chicago Community Trust. As a funding collaborative, we help bring together municipal, philanthropic, and corporate investments in civic innovation.
We have a host of current projects and partnerships, and we are actively seeking to connect ideas and resources in all areas of philanthropy in Chicago.”

Benjamin Barber: Why mayors should rule the world

TED Talks released a new video by political theorist Benjamin Barber on “Why mayors should rule the world”: “It often seems like federal-level politicians care more about creating gridlock than solving the world’s problems. So who’s actually getting bold things done? City mayors. So, political theorist Benjamin Barber suggests: Let’s give them more control over global policy. Barber shows how these “urban homeboys” are solving pressing problems on their own turf — and maybe in the world.”

See also Emma Green, “Can Mayors Really Save the World?” The Atlantic Cities

Swarm-Based Medicine

Paul Martin Putora and Jan Oldenburgin the Journal of Medical Internet Research: “Humans, armed with Internet technology, exercise crowd intelligence in various spheres of social interaction ranging from predicting elections to company management. Internet-based interaction may result in different outcomes, such as improved response capability and decision-making quality.
The direct comparison of swarm-based medicine with evidence- or eminence-based is interesting, but these concepts should be perceived as complementing each other and working independently of each other. Optimal decision making depends on a balance of personal knowledge and swarm intelligence, taking into account the quality of each, with their weight in decisions being adapted accordingly. The possibility of balancing controversial standpoints and achieving acceptable conclusions for the majority of participants has been an important task of scientific and medical conferences since the Age of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries. Our swarm continues with this interconnecting synchronization at an unprecedented speed and is, thanks to eVotes, Internet forums, and the like, more reactive than ever. Faster changes in our direction of movement, like a school of fish, are becoming possible. Information spreads from one individual to another. It is unconscious, but with our own dance we influence the rest of the beehive.
Within an environment, individual behavior determines the behavior of the collective and vice versa. Internet technology has dramatically changed the environment we behave in. Traditionally, medical information was provided to patients as well as to physicians by experts. This intermediation was characterized by an expert standing between sources of information and the user. Currently, and probably even more so in the future, Web 2.0 and appropriate algorithms enable users to rely on the guidance or behavior of their peers in selecting and consuming information. This is one of many processes facilitated by medicine 2.0 and is described as “apomediation”. Apomediation, whether implicit or explicit, increases the influence of individuals on others. For an individual to adapt its behavior within a swarm, other individuals need to be perceived and their actions reacted upon. Through apomediation, more individuals take part in the swarm.
Our patients are better informed; second opinions can be sought via the Internet within hours. Our individual behavior is influenced by online resources as well as digital communication with our colleagues. This change in individual behavior influences the way we find, understand, and adopt guidelines. Societies representing larger groups within the swarms use this technology to create recommendations. This process is influenced by individuals and previous actions of the community; these then in return influence individual behavior. Information technology has a major impact on the lifecycle of guidelines and recommendations. There is no entry and exit point for IT in this regard. With increasing influence on individual behavior, its influence on collective behavior increases, influencing the other direction to the same extent.
Dynamic changes in movement of the swarm and within the swarm may lead to individuals leaving the herd. These may influence the herd to move in the direction of the outliers. At the same time, an individual leaving a flock or swarm is exposed. Physicians as well as clinical centers expose themselves when they leave the group for the sake of innovation. Negative results and failure might lead to legal exposure should treatments fail.
The perception of swarm behavior itself changes the way we approach guidelines. When several guidelines are published, being aware of them as a result of interaction increases our awareness for bias. Major deviations from other recommendations warrant scrutiny. The perception of swarm behavior and embracing the knowledge of the swarm may lead to an optimized use of resources. Information that has already been obtained may be incorporated directly by agents, enabling them to build on this and establish new knowledge—as social learning agents”

UK: Good law

“The good law initiative is an appeal to everyone interested in the making and publishing of law to come together with a shared objective of making legislation work well for the users of today and tomorrow…People find legislation difficult. The volume of statutes and regulations, their piecemeal structure, and their level of detail and frequent amendments, make legislation hard to understand and difficult to comply with. That can hinder economic activity. It can create burdens for businesses and communities. It can obstruct good government, and it can undermine the rule of law…
Good law is not a checklist, or a call for more process. It straddles four areas that have traditionally been regarded as separate domains. We think that they are inter-connected, and we invite good law partners to consider each of them from the different perspectives of citizens, professional users and legislators.

Diagram with 'Good law' in the centre and how it interacts with the following questions: How much detail?  Is this law necessary?  Does it duplicate, or conflict with, another law? Do we know what the likely readership is? Is the language easy to understa
Good law from the perspectives of citizens, professional users and legislators…
Good law sits naturally alongside:

Civics for a Digital Age

Jathan Sadowski  in the Atlantic on “Eleven principles for relating to cities that are automated and smart: Over half of the world’s population lives in urban environments, and that number is rapidly growing according to the World Health Organization. Many of us interact with the physical environments of cities on a daily basis: the arteries that move traffic, the grids that energize our lives, the buildings that prevent and direct actions. For many tech companies, though, much of this urban infrastructure is ripe for a digital injection. Cities have been “dumb” for millennia. It’s about time they get “smart” — or so the story goes….
Before accepting the techno-hype as a fait accompli, we should consider the implications such widespread technological changes might have on society, politics, and life in general. Urban scholar and historian Lewis Mumford warned of “megamachines” where people become mere components — like gears and transistors — in a hierarchical, human machine. The proliferation of smart projects requires an updated way of thinking about their possibilities, complications, and effects.
A new book, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, by Anthony Townsend, a research director at the Institute for the Future, provides some groundwork for understanding how these urban projects are occurring and what guiding principles we might use in directing their development. Townsend sets out to sketch a new understanding of “civics,” one that will account for new technologies.
The foundation for his theory speaks to common, worthwhile concerns: “Until now, smart-city visions have been controlling us. What we need is a new social code to bring meaning and to exert control over the technological code of urban operating systems.” It’s easy to feel like technologies — especially urban ones that are, at once, ubiquitous and often unseen to city-dwellers — have undue influence over our lives. Townsend’s civics, which is based on eleven principles, looks to address, prevent, and reverse that techno-power.”

The Contours of Crowd Capability

New paper by Prashant Shukla and John Prpi: “The existence of dispersed knowledge has been a subject of inquiry for more than six decades. Despite the longevity of this rich research tradition, the “knowledge problem” has remained largely unresolved both in research and practice, and remains “the central theoretical problem of all social science”. However, in the 21st century, organizations are presented with opportunities through technology to potentially benefit from the dispersed knowledge problem to some extent. One such opportunity is represented by the recent emergence of a variety of crowd-engaging information systems (IS).
In this vein, Crowdsourcing  is being widely studied in numerous contexts, and the knowledge generated from these IS phenomena is well-documented. At the same time, other organizations are leveraging dispersed knowledge by putting in place IS-applications such as Predication Markets to gather large sample-size forecasts from within and without the organization. Similarly, we are also observing many organizations using IS-tools such as “Wikis” to access the knowledge of dispersed populations within the boundaries of the organization. Further still, other organizations are applying gamification techniques to accumulate Citizen Science knowledge from the public at large through IS.
Among these seemingly disparate phenomena, a complex ecology of crowd- engaging IS has emerged, involving millions of people all around the world generating knowledge for organizations through IS. However, despite the obvious scale and reach of this emerging crowd-engagement paradigm, there are no examples of research (as far as we know), that systematically compares and contrasts a large variety of these existing crowd-engaging IS-tools in one work. Understanding this current state of affairs, we seek to address this significant research void by comparing and contrasting a number of the crowd-engaging forms of IS currently available for organizational use.

To achieve this goal, we employ the Theory of Crowd Capital as a lens to systematically structure our investigation of crowd-engaging IS. Employing this parsimonious lens, we first explain how Crowd Capital is generated through Crowd Capability in organizations. Taking this conceptual platform as a point of departure, in Section 3, we offer an array of examples of IS currently in use in modern practice to generate Crowd Capital. We compare and contrast these emerging IS techniques using the Crowd Capability construct, therein highlighting some important choices that organizations face when entering the crowd- engagement fray. This comparison, which we term “The Contours of Crowd Capability”, can be used by decision-makers and researchers alike, to differentiate among the many extant methods of Crowd Capital generation. At the same time, our comparison also illustrates some important differences to be found in the internal organizational processes that accompany each form of crowd-engaging IS. In section 4, we conclude with a discussion of the limitations of our work.”

Introducing Socrata’s Open Data Magazine: Open Innovation

“Socrata is dedicated to telling the story of open data as it evolves, which is why we have launched a quarterly magazine, “Open Innovation.”
As innovators push the open data movement forward, they are transforming government and public engagement at every level. With thousands of innovators all over the world – each with their own successes, advice, and ideas – there is a tremendous amount of story for us to tell.
The new magazine features articles, advice, infographics, and more dedicated exclusively to the open data movement. The first issue, Fall 2013, will cover topics such as:

  • What is a Chief Data Officer?
  • Who should be on your open data team?
  • How do you publish your first open data set?

It will also include four Socrata case studies and opinion pieces from some of the industry’s leading innovators…
The magazine is currently free to download or read online through the Socrata website. It is optimized for viewing on tablets and smart phones, with plans in the works to make the magazine available through the Kindle Fire and iTunes magazine stores.
Check out the first issue of Open Innovation at”

From Crowd-Sourcing Potholes to Community Policing

New paper by Manik Suri (GovLab): “The tragic Boston Marathon bombing and hair-raising manhunt that ensued was a sobering event. It also served as a reminder that emerging “civic technologies” – platforms and applications that enable citizens to connect and collaborate with each other and with government – are more important today than ever before. As commentators have noted, local police and federal agents utilized a range of technological platforms to tap the “wisdom of the crowd,” relying on thousands of private citizens to develop a “hive mind” that identified two suspects within a record period of time.
In the immediate wake of the devastating attack on April 15th, investigators had few leads. But within twenty-four hours, senior FBI officials, determined to seek “assistance from the public,” called on everyone with information to submit all media, tips, and leads related to the Boston Marathon attack. This unusual request for help yielded thousands of images and videos from local Bostonians, tourists, and private companies through technological channels ranging from telephone calls and emails to Flickr posts and Twitter messages. In mere hours, investigators were able to “crowd-source” a tremendous amount of data – including thousands of images from personal cameras, amateur videos from smart phones, and cell-tower information from private carriers. Combing through data from this massive network of “eyes and ears,” law enforcement officials were quickly able to generate images of two lead suspects – enabling a “modern manhunt” to commence immediately.
Technological innovations have transformed our commercial, political, and social realities. These advances include new approaches to how we generate knowledge, access information, and interact with one another, as well as new pathways for building social movements and catalyzing political change. While a significant body of academic research has focused on the role of technology in transforming electoral politics and social movements, less attention has been paid to how technological innovation can improve the process of governance itself.
A growing number of platforms and applications lie at this intersection of technology and governance, in what might be termed the “civic technology” sector. Broadly speaking, this sector involves the application of new information and communication technologies – ranging from robust social media platforms to state-of-the-art big data analysis systems – to address public policy problems. Civic technologies encompass enterprises that “bring web technologies directly to government, build services on top of government data for citizens, and change the way citizens ask, get, or need services from government.” These technologies have the potential to transform governance by promoting greater transparency in policy-making, increasing government efficiency, and enhancing citizens’ participation in public sector decision-making.

StartUp Genome

Kauffman Foundation press release: “What are the fastest growing startups in my city? Which of them are hiring? Who are the founders and investors in my industry that I should meet given the stage I’m at in my entrepreneurial journey?

These are the questions local entrepreneurs and city leaders often ask, and finding the correct answers can be time-consuming, if not impossible.
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation today announced a grant to an organization that has a tool to help them find the answers. Startup Genome is a worldwide network of volunteer curators who create up-to-date and accurate maps of the entrepreneurial communities in which they live and work….
Startup Genome’s goal is to recruit 1,000 local curators who will populate startup community data in their city’s maps. Currently, 332 curators are curating maps in 271 cities and 57 countries. So far they’ve collected data on more than 26,000 founders, 84,000 startups, 5,800 investors and more than 18,000 deals. Curators can be entrepreneurs, investors, accelerator program managers, Startup Weekend organizers, community builders, students, journalists and more…
Startup Genome launched a new website last week at with improved searches, speed, curator tools; updated statistics and industry pages; and responsive design for mobile phones. The site will continue to develop data automation tools, integrations and partnerships with other online sources such as CrunchBase, Angel List and LinkedIn.”