Crowd sourcing

A designer should never rely solely on their own experience when attempting to provide solutions for design problems, especially those which involve complex systems and services. Crowd sourcing allows users from across the globe to provide valuable propositions, feedback and contributions to a design project. The increased range of experiences which form this knowledge base is of a much wider and more realistic scope. Design decisions can therefore be highly considered as opposed to assumed, and can be refined within a much shorter timescale.

It is important to note two different motivations behind crowd sourcing. On one hand it serves as a method of creating a large body of ideas to be used as a “knowledge base”. On another hand, crowd sourcing often borders on a form of efficient exploitation, when it is used by companies as an opportunity to either delegate work, or glean ideas for new products from free market research.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013

Web based forums and communities serve as an effective platform for crowd sourcing.

Dell’s “IdeaStorm” is an online platform where users can raise problems or ideas regarding dell’s products. These are then voted on by users and then “implemented” by Dell. The difference here is perhaps Dell’s underlying motivation for providing this platform to its users.

IDEO and Frog Design also utilise crowd sourcing through there own online communities. When IDEO was faced with the challenge of resolving in home sanitation and toilet problems in Ghana, they crowd sourced solutions through their “Open Ideo” platform. Similarly, Frog Design uses an online platform where users can upload photos of scenarios which form an immense database of human behaviours. These behaviours reveal insightful foundations for services and products that “make people’s lives better”.

Contributor: Dustin Bailey, 2013