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Year in Review, Part 4: Crowdsourcing – Ideas, Engagement, Trust

Posted Jan 19 2010 7:45am

One trend with far reaching effects (which gained momentum in 2009) is crowdsourcing ideas and solutions for social problems. Competitions — such as Google’s Project 10100 “Ideas that change the world”, Ashoka’s Changemakers, the Purpose Prize (for people who, in the second half of their life, make a large difference), and the Buckminster Fuller Institute Challenge — make it possible to attract a critical mass of innovative thinkers and ideas, publicize them, and to effectively hone the dialogue around them.

Platforms for Micro-volunteering and Micro-work
Crowdsourcing plays a central roll in some innovative platforms launched in 2009, such as the micro-volunteer site The Extraordinaries, or Catalista, which allow volunteers to choose and carry out simple tasks, like tagging photos in an online library archive. Notably, disadvantaged groups such as refugees or impoverished populations find—over these networks, as on the Samasource platform—avenues of integration into the work process.

Mobile technology offers completely new possibilities for participation and feedback
The “wisdom of the many,” (link in German only) channelled and publicised through the Internet, will take an enormously important position at the forefront of project evaluation in the coming years. 2009 saw large scale advances linking the technology of mobile telephones with development and humanitarian work. It is now possible for mobile phone users to send information to websites that then aggregate and publicise the information. Examples of this include the concepts available from Ushahidi or SMS Frontline. These developments have an exciting potential for us at, in that they could considerably raise the participation that support our Web of Trust. This activation of the Web of Trust and the development of such potentials for a radically improved participation and foundation of trust is one of the areas in which the betterplaceLAB looks forward to investing our energies in 2010.

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