Why Crowdsourcing is the Next Cloud Computing

Alpheus Bingham, co-founder and a member of the board of directors at InnoCentive, in Wired: “But over the course of a decade, what we now call cloud-based or software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications has taken the world by storm and become mainstream. Today, cloud computing is an umbrella term that applies to a wide variety of successful technologies (and business models), from business apps like Salesforce.com, to infrastructure like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), to consumer apps like Netflix. It took years for all these things to become mainstream, and if the last decade saw the emergence (and eventual dominance) of the cloud over previous technologies and models, this decade will see the same thing with crowdsourcing.
Both an art and a science, crowdsourcing taps into the global experience and wisdom of individuals, teams, communities, and networks to accomplish tasks and work. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what you do or believe — in fact, the more diversity of thought and perspective, the better. Diversity is king and it’s common for people on the periphery of — or even completely outside of — a discipline or science to end up solving important problems.
The specific nature of the work offers few constraints – from a small business needing a new logo, to the large consumer goods company looking to ideate marketing programs, or to the nonprofit research organization looking to find a biomarker for ALS, the value is clear as well.
To get to the heart of the matter on why crowdsourcing is this decade’s cloud computing, several immediate reasons come to mind:
Crowdsourcing Is Disruptive
Much as cloud computing has created a new guard that in many ways threatens the old guard, so too has crowdsourcing. …
Crowdsourcing Provides On-Demand Talent Capacity
Labor is expensive and good talent is scarce. Think about the cost of adding ten additional researchers to a 100-person R&D team. You’ve increased your research capacity by 10% (more or less), but at a significant cost – and, a significant FIXED cost at that. …
Crowdsourcing Enables Pay-for-Performance.
You pay as you go with cloud computing — gone are the days of massive upfront capital expenditures followed by years of ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs. Crowdsourcing does even better: you pay for solutions, not effort, which predictably sometimes results in failure. In fact, with crowdsourcing, the marketplace bears the cost of failure, not you….
Crowdsourcing “Consumerizes” Innovation
Crowdsourcing can provide a platform for bi-directional communication and collaboration with diverse individuals and groups, whether internal or external to your organization — employees, customers, partners and suppliers. Much as cloud computing has consumerized technology, crowdsourcing has the same potential to consumerize innovation, and more broadly, how we collaborate to bring new ideas, products and services to market.
Crowdsourcing Provides Expert Services and Skills That You Don’t Possess.
One of the early value propositions of cloud-based business apps was that you didn’t need to engage IT to deploy them or Finance to help procure them, thereby allowing general managers and line-of-business heads to do their jobs more fluently and more profitably…”