Darrell Etherington in TechCrunch: “Waze’s big exit to Google proved one thing: if companies can harness the power of the crowd to deliver real-time, granular data, big tech corporations will be watching them closely as potential acquisition targets. There’s another category ripe for the picking, even if the problem being solved isn’t as apparent or immediately useful as traffic and navigation data: weather. A few apps are trying to harness the crowd to provide accurate, ground-level forecasts and conditions, and they’re catching on with consumers, too.
Montreal-based startup SkyMotion is one such firm, and it recently launched its 4.0 update, which not only harnesses crowdsourced weather reports, but also allows other businesses to plug into that data using a public API, to integrate real-time reporting data from SkyMotion’s users into their own products. That provides an up-to-the-minute forecast, one that probably won’t show you weather conditions completely dissimilar from the ones you’re actually feeling outside at any given moment, as can still be the case with apps that pull weather data only from specific weather monitoring stations….
SkyMotion isn’t alone in crowdsourcing weather data. There’s also Weddar, the “people-powered” weather service and mobile app that encourages location-based reporting with a very human element, since it asks people how conditions generally feel on the ground, instead of seeking out specifics…”
Barking Up The Wrong Tree: “Warren Bennis and Patricia Biederman studied a number of breakthrough great groups to see what made them so successful. They compiled the results into their book, Organizing Genius.
They looked at the Disney’s Animation division, the Manhattan Project (developed the nuclear bomb), Xerox PARC (designed the modern computer interface), the 1992 Clinton campaign (pulled off an enormous victory), Lockheed’s Skunk Works (created the U2 spy plane and the Stealth Bomber), and others.
Highlights from Organizing Genius summarized by Erik Barker can be found here.”
Emma Hutchings at PSFK: “The Smart Citizen Kit is a crowdsourced environmental monitoring platform. By scattering devices around the world, the creators hope to build a global network of sensors that report local environmental conditions like CO and NO2 levels, light, noise, temperature and humidity.
Organized by the Fab Lab at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, a team of scientists, architects, and engineers are paving the way to humanize environmental monitoring. The open-source platform consists of arduino-compatible hardware, data visualization web API and a mobile app. Users are invited to take part in the interactive global environmental database, visualizing their data and comparing it with others around the world.”
Peter Ryder and Shaun Abrahamson in Innovation Excellence: “When we open up the innovation process to talent outside our organization we are trying to channel the abilities of a lot of people we don’t know, in the hope that a few of them have ideas we need. Crowdsourcing is the term most closely associated with the process. But over the last decade, many organizations have been not only sourcing ideas from crowds but also getting feedback on ideas….
We call the intersection of lower transaction costs and brainstorming at scale enabled by online connections crowdstorming. Getting ideas, getting feedback, identifying talent to work with, filtering ideas, earning media, enabling stakeholders to select ideas to change the organization/stakeholder relationship — the crowd’s role and the crowdstorming process has become more complex as it has expanded to involve external talent in new ways. …
Seventy-five years ago, the British economist, Ronald Coase, suggested that high transaction costs – the overhead to find, recruit, negotiate and contract with talent—required organizations to bring the best talent in house. While Coase’s equation still holds true, the Internet has allowed organizations to revisit under what conditions they want and need full time employees. When we have the ability to efficiently tap resources anywhere, anytime at low cost, new opportunities emerge.”
Joe Harris in IFSEC Global: “Following April’s Boston Marathon bombings, many people around the world wanted to help in any way they could. Previously, there would have been little but financial assistance that they could have offered.
However, with the advent of high-quality cameras on smartphone devices, and services such as YouTube and Flickr, it was not long before the well-known online collectives such as Reddit and 4chan mobilized members of the public to ask them to review hundreds of thousands of photos and videos taken on the day to try and identify potential suspects….Here in the UK, we recently had the successful launch of Facewatch, and we have seen other regional attempts — such as Greater Manchester Police’s services and appeals app — to use the goodwill of members of the public to help trace, identify, or report suspected criminals and the crimes that they commit.
Does this herald a new era in transparency? Are we seeing the first steps towards a more transparent future where rapid information flow means that there really is nowhere to hide? Or are we instead falling into some Orwellian society construct where people are scared to speak out or think for themselves?”
A crowdfunding directory by UK’s Nesta…: “Crowdfunding, the method of sourcing funds from large numbers of people, has been growing quickly worldwide in recent years and has the potential to revolutionise the world of finance, creating new opportunities to fund everything from new products and businesses to community projects. As the market grows, so too does the number of sites (or ‘platforms’) that facilitate the exchange between the crowd of funders and those seeking finance. To help you find the platform most suited to your financing needs, this directory lists information on those platforms currently open to fundraising from individuals and businesses in the UK.”
USA Today: “Crowdfunding, the cyberpractice of pooling individuals’ money for a cause, so far has centered on private enterprise. It’s now spreading to public spaces and other community projects that are typically the domain of municipalities.
The global reach and speed of the Internet are raising not just money but awareness and galvanizing communities.
SmartPlanet.com recently reported that crowdfunding capital projects is gaining momentum, giving communities part ownership of everything from a 66-story downtown skyscraper in Bogota to a bridge in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Several websites such as neighborland.com and neighbor.ly are platforms to raise money for projects ranging from planting fruit trees in San Francisco to building a playground that accommodates disabled children in Parsippany, N.J.
“Community groups are increasingly ready to challenge cities’ plans,” says Bryan Boyer, an independent consultant and adviser to The Finnish Innovation Fund SITRA, a think tank. “We’re all learning to live in the context of a networked society.”
Crowdfunder, which connects entrepreneurs and investors globally, just launched a local version — CROWDFUNDx.”
New Harvard Business School Research Paper by Paul Healy and Karthik Ramanna (Harvard Business Review): “Corruption is the greatest impediment to conducting business in Russia, according to leaders recently surveyed by the World Economic Forum. Indeed, it’s a problem in many emerging markets, and businesses have a role to play in combating it, according to Healy and Ramanna. The authors focus on RosPil — an anticorruption entity in Russia set up by Alexey Navalny, a crusader against public and private malfeasance in that country. As of December 2011, RosPil claimed to have prevented the granting of dubious contracts worth US$1.3 billion. The organization holds corrupt politicians’ and bureaucrats’ feet to the fire largely through internet-based crowdsourcing, whereby often-anonymous people identify requests for government-issued tenders that are designed to generate kickbacks. Should entities like RosPil be supported, and should companies fashion their own responses to corruption? On the one hand, there are obvious public-relations and political risks; on the other hand, corruption can erode a firm’s competitiveness, the trust of customers and employees, and even the very legitimacy of capitalism. The authors argue that heads of many multinational companies are well positioned to combat corruption in emerging markets. Those leaders have the power to enforce policies in their organizations and networks, and they enjoy the ability to organize others in the industry against this pernicious threat.”
PSFK: “Rodrigo Nino, CEO of Prodigy Network, spoke at PSFK CONFERENCE 2013 about building a crowd funded skyscraper in the city of Bogota, Colombia. With a population of over 10 million, Bogota is a quickly growing metropolitan center. This growth is predominately horizontal rather than vertical, which is creating a problems involving traffic and pollution. With 1.7 million daily commuters heading into the center of the city, the average commute from door to door in Bogota is between 75 to 90 minutes every day. This problem of horizontal growth is the biggest issue facing cities in emerging markets. The solution is to go vertical, building skyscrapers to create greater density and centralization.
The issue is raising enough capital to build such structures, and generally necessitates the involvement of large and powerful institutional investors. However, Nino envisions another way, which puts the power in the hands of the people of Bogota. By turning to crowd funding to build a skyscraper, the residents themselves become the owners of the project. In order to make this a reality, Nino has been combating the misconceptions that crowd funding can only be used to finance small projects, that it is only for local communities, and that crowd funding in real estate is not safe.”