Jeff Howe, a contributing writer and editor for Wired Magazine, was the first to coin the term “crowdsourcing” in a 2006 article entitled “The Rise of Crowdsourcing.” Howe had followed this ever expanding movement with great curiosity. He found that the crowd could come together to accomplish tasks and execute projects in ways that was never possible with large organizations and companies. With the crowd, things could happen faster, cheaper and at a better quality than ever thought possible.
Before the term was even created, companies were using the power of the crowd to produce quality results in a more efficient manner. Howe’s article, “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” covers a few companies that utilize the masses in various ways to make things happen. The article details ways crowdsourcing can act as professional, providing companies with access to inexpensive, quality stock photos from amateurs all over the world using sites like iStockphoto.com. He also examines companies like InnoCentive, which gathers crowds of scientists and technology professionals to solve problems and discover innovations faster than ever dreamed. Finally, he goes on to describe Amazon Mechanical Turk, which is utilized in CrowdSource’s endeavors, to explain how the crowd can accomplish simple tasks that robots and computers cannot complete.
While Howe discovered many ways to utilize the crowd, he found one common theme throughout every method- when various minds and intellects come together to produce results, large groups working on a similar task are tremendously productive, driven and creative.
Since “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” was published in 2006, more businesses have begun to understand and tap into the wisdom of the crowd. Jeff Howe continues to express his knowledge about crowdsourcing with companies and the general public. In 2008, Howe published his first book, “Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd is Driving the Future of Business.” The book tracks crowdsourcing from its root, reports detailed examples of ways the crowd is utilized and explains the future of the crowdsourcing industry. Howe is confident that crowdsourcing can benefit nearly any business and can eventually change the face of the technical world.
Although crowdsourcing is in its inception, the term is catching on rapidly. Recently, crowdsourcing was added in an update of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate ® Dictionary, America’s best-selling dictionary in 2011. This would not have happened if it was not for Jeff Howe’s major contribution to the industry. Thanks to him, crowdsourcing is proving itself as a legitimate and mainstream part of the business world.
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