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Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine an algorithm or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data.

The term has become popular with business authors and journalists as shorthand for the trend of leveraging the mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0 technologies to achieve business goals. However, both the term and its underlying business models have attracted controversy and criticism.

In some cases the labor is well-compensated. In other cases the only rewards may be kudos or intellectual satisfaction. Crowdsourcing may produce solutions from amateurs or volunteers working in their spare time, or from small businesses which were unknown to the initiating organization.

Perceived benefits of crowdsourcing include:

  • Problems can be explored at comparatively little cost.
  • Payment is by results.
  • The organization can tap a wider range of talent than might be present in its own organisation.

The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to the public, rather than another body. The difference between crowdsourcing and open source is that open source production is a cooperative activity initiated and voluntarily undertaken by members of the public. In crowdsourcing the activity is initiated by a client, and the work may be undertaken on an individual, as well as a group, basis.” <wiki>

Cambrian House is a web-based community owned business that combines the principles of wisdom of crowds and peer production to identify and develop sticky software ideas. The company’s stated mission is to discover and commercialize software ideas through the wisdom and participation of crowds.” <wiki> <home>


“LIFT is a series of events intended to facilitate and promote discussion about new technologies and their impact on our society. The conference happens in both Geneva (Switzerland) and Seoul (South Korea) every year, with smaller events happening all around the year.” <home>

“LIFT leads a new generation of conferences exploring the social implications of technologies in our society in a unique and tested format maximizing creativity and networking. It is a three-day experience built upon:

  • workshops and open stage talks, proposed and selected by LIFT participants
  • keynote speeches and panels with world renowned experts
  • artistic activities offered to facilitate networking and innovative thinking, allowing attendees to play and create to keep their mind fresh and meet others.” <about>

Past talks have included:

  • Paul Barnett, “MMO’s, movies, las vegas, and golf”
  • Kevin Marks, “Google’s Open Social”
  • Robin Hunicke, “The Modern Age of Gaming”
  • Jonathan Cabiria, “Virtual Environments and Social Justice”
  • Cory Doctorow, “Digital Rights Management”
  • And many, many more!

Complete video list of conference speakers can be found here.

What is InnoTown? <home>

InnoTown is a truly unusual business conference for people who want to open up to the new opportunities that lie beyond the traditionally tried and tested. The aim of InnoTown is to move people’s minds, both rationally and emotionally; to inspire and enhance creativity and innovation, to help motivate people to think new thoughts and dare to fail – to succeed.

The conference emphasises innovation,vision, inspiration, strategy, creativity, promotion and internationalisation. It creates good relations between people from different countries, trades, environments and professions. This results in stimulating new ideas and the developing, deepening and widening of existing knowledge and values”

InnoTown Promo 2007:

I was initially confused when I came re-discovered this video that I had forgotten to post a long time ago. But after I watched it again (almost 4 years since the video was taped), I realized it might be more interesting to share it now given what’s happened since.


  • A new ABI Research study, “Consumer Hybrid Vehicles,” finds that consumer hybrids’ market share in the United States will rise from just 1.25% in 2005 to at least 6% in 2013 (October, 2005).
  • Conservative estimates forecast 1 million cars sold per year by the end of this decade, 2% of the 65 M global market
  • <more…>

Technology’s Long Tail

Interview: The New Media


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