When researchers at the University of Minnesota placed over 200 cameras to capture images to count and locate the animals of the Serengeti, they ended up amassing millions of images which needed to be tagged (with more coming in all the time). Their answer: Throw it open to online volunteers who get to see photographs of exotic animals in the wild, spot them and to classify them just as Galaxy Zoo did when they enlisted help from online enthusiasts to classify images of galaxies! The fact that Galaxy Zoo ended up publishing scientific work stands testimony to the power of the Crowds, (and the team’s ability to distribute the tasks and re-assemble the results into scientifically accepted formats deserves kudos too)!
For those who lack clarity on the concept, crowdsourcing is getting micro-tasks executed by remote workers using an online platform, to derive quality solutions. A challenge or request is issued to a large population, and results are gathered and evaluated.
There is no doubt that crowdsourcing represents an innovative talent management opportunity which puts various technology-enabled resources to effective use. Volunteer work and participation in competitions and challenges is a great way to network with others and build one’s reputation; and in many cases participants are also paid for their contribution. .
As an industry observer, I am impressed by the way Crowdsourcing has achieved massive adoptions for online talent sourcing in 2012. Look at the big investments into the sector, with Infoarmy, for example, raising $17.4 million. Many companies have also made significant intellectual investments in refining the offerings and making them more powerful, complex with increasing opportunities and leads.The time has come to consider if:
Most contingent staffing companies have not employed crowdsourcing, and have not incorporated this approach into their overall strategy. Many of them are not familiar with how online platforms function. But if contingent work is all about providing workers and services on demand and in a flexible manner; can the staffing companies of today afford to steer clear of these developments in talent management methods?
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