Crowdsourcing Platform

“Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.”
James Surowiecki
Tool Step

Role of this tool

This tool is to help us hire or design a web-based crowdsourcing platform. These platforms are used to host communities that submit ideas for new products and services in response to specific challenges. We use this template to design our crowdsourcing platform and to think about how our challenges might work.

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How do we use it?

First we hire a crowdsourcing platform; there are many proven and cost-effective products available. Here is a checklist to help decide which one to choose:

  • Are we paying by the month, the challenge or the size of the crowd?
  • Whose responsibility is it to recruit the crowd?
  • Will we get help with the design of the challenge process?
  • Is it easy to upload and display photos, videos and links?
  • Who will facilitate the crowd?
  • Who will design the site’s look and feel?
  • How good are communications from the site to members? (e.g. weekly emails, blog or some other media?)
  • How easy is the sign-up process? Is there a choice between invite-only and open access? Can people join using their social media accounts?
  • Are the site statistics easily accessible and downloadable?
  • Are there useful terms and conditions that deal with community behaviour, intellectual property, etc?

1. What is the name of our crowd?

Having the right tone for our crowdsourcing platform can help recruit and engage people. Make it descriptive and light-hearted (See Insight Crowd).

2. The Interesting Question

Effective challenges start with an Interesting Question (see Challenge Designer). This needs to be interesting to the crowd to ensure enthusiastic participation. This Interesting Question becomes the headline for our challenge on the platform.

3. Add design elements

Most platforms allow some customisation so we need to decide on colour, background, logos and the number of information tabs or pages we want. Let’s try to make the challenges highly visual and the amount of text as small as possible. A key image will help engage community members in a challenge.

4. Set the functionality

Most platforms will allow some customisation of functionality. The following are examples of the most popular user-configurable aspects:
• It is important for the platform facilitators and members to upload photos of themselves and short biographies, so be sure to enable this
• Many platforms will allow the upload of pictures or video so decide whether we want this and enable it if we do
• Some platforms allow the allocation of different numbers of points for different activities so we need to decide the scores awarded for uploading ideas, voting and commenting

5. Write the platform copy

We decide what information is going to be useful for community members on the front page and for any other pages on the site. It is tempting to write everything we know about the project but it is more effective to edit the information. The more time members spend reading the background the less time they will spend contributing.

6. Recruit our crowd

This is a key part of the process and much will depend on how successful we are at recruiting a crowd that knows about the subject but is also diverse (see Network Builder). The minimum effective crowd size is 100. There is no maximum size but above 2000 members can be hard to facilitate. Bear in mind the 90:9:1 rule of online communities:
For every 100 participants there will be on average 1 active contributor, 9 who will respond and 90 ‘lurkers’.

Most crowdsourcing communities do better than this, but we shouldn’t expect everyone to participate all the time. When recruiting our crowd we need to tell them what we are trying to do, how long we need them for and what their incentives are. See Challenge Designer for a number of suggested ways to recruit and incentivise.

Source: 100%Open


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