Crowdsourcing in the Public Sector

Georgetown University Press
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Crowdsourcing is a term that was coined in 2006 to describe how the commercial sector was beginning to outsource problems or tasks to the public through an open call for solutions over the internet or social media. Crowdsourcing works to generate new ideas or develop innovative solutions to problems by drawing on the wisdom of the many rather than the few. US local government experimented with rudimentary crowdsourcing strategies as early as 1989, but in the last few years local, state, and federal government have increasingly turned to crowdsourcing to enhance citizen participation in problem solving, setting priorities, and decision making. While crowdsourcing in the public sector holds much promise and is part of a larger movement toward more citizen participation in democratic government, many challenges, especially legal and ethical issues, need to be addressed to successfully adapt it for use in the public sector.

Daren C. Brabham has been at the forefront of the academic study of crowdsourcing. This book includes extensive interviews with public and private sector managers who have used crowdsourcing. Brabham concludes with a list of the top ten best practices for public managers.

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About the author

Daren C. Brabham is an assistant professor of public relations and new media at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communications. He is the author of Crowdsourcing and the editor of the online journal Case Studies in Strategic Communication.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Georgetown University Press
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Published on
Apr 20, 2015
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Pages
120
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ISBN
9781626162228
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / Civics & Citizenship
Political Science / Public Affairs & Administration
Political Science / Public Policy / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A concise introduction to crowdsourcing that goes beyond social media buzzwords to explain what crowdsourcing really is and how it works.

Ever since the term “crowdsourcing” was coined in 2006 by Wired writer Jeff Howe, group activities ranging from the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary to the choosing of new colors for M&Ms have been labeled with this most buzz-generating of media buzzwords. In this accessible but authoritative account, grounded in the empirical literature, Daren Brabham explains what crowdsourcing is, what it is not, and how it works.

Crowdsourcing, Brabham tells us, is an online, distributed problem solving and production model that leverages the collective intelligence of online communities for specific purposes set forth by a crowdsourcing organization—corporate, government, or volunteer. Uniquely, it combines a bottom-up, open, creative process with top-down organizational goals. Crowdsourcing is not open source production, which lacks the top-down component; it is not a market research survey that offers participants a short list of choices; and it is qualitatively different from predigital open innovation and collaborative production processes, which lacked the speed, reach, rich capability, and lowered barriers to entry enabled by the Internet.

Brabham describes the intellectual roots of the idea of crowdsourcing in such concepts as collective intelligence, the wisdom of crowds, and distributed computing. He surveys the major issues in crowdsourcing, including crowd motivation, the misconception of the amateur participant, crowdfunding, and the danger of “crowdsploitation” of volunteer labor, citing real-world examples from Threadless, InnoCentive, and other organizations. And he considers the future of crowdsourcing in both theory and practice, describing its possible roles in journalism, governance, national security, and science and health.

How did we get from Hollywood to YouTube? What makes Wikipedia so different from a traditional encyclopedia? Has blogging dismantled journalism as we know it?

Our media landscape has undergone a seismic shift as digital technology has fostered the rise of "participatory culture," in which knowledge is originated, created, distributed, and evaluated in radically new ways. The Participatory Cultures Handbook is an indispensable, interdisciplinary guide to this rapidly changing terrain. With short, accessible essays from leading geographers, political scientists, communication theorists, game designers, activists, policy makers, physicists, and poets, this volume will introduce students to the concept of participatory culture, explain how researchers approach participatory culture studies, and provide original examples of participatory culture in action. Topics include crowdsourcing, crisis mapping, grid computing, digital activism in authoritarian countries, collaborative poetry, collective intelligence, participatory budgeting, and the relationship between video games and civic engagement.

Contributors include: Daren Brabham, Helen Burgess, Clay Calvert, Mia Consalvo, Kelly Czarnecki, David M. Faris, Dieter Fuchs, Owen Gallagher, Clive Goodinson, Alexander Halvais, Cynthia Hawkins, John Heaven, The Jannissary Collective, Henry Jenkins, Barry Joseph, Christopher Kelty, Pierre Lévy, Sophia B. Liu, Rolf Luehrs, Patrick Meier, Jason Mittell, Sarah Pearce, W. James Potter, Howard Rheingold, Suzanne Scott, Benjamin Stokes, Thomas Swiss, Paul Taylor, Will Venters, Jen Ziemke

A concise introduction to crowdsourcing that goes beyond social media buzzwords to explain what crowdsourcing really is and how it works.

Ever since the term “crowdsourcing” was coined in 2006 by Wired writer Jeff Howe, group activities ranging from the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary to the choosing of new colors for M&Ms have been labeled with this most buzz-generating of media buzzwords. In this accessible but authoritative account, grounded in the empirical literature, Daren Brabham explains what crowdsourcing is, what it is not, and how it works.

Crowdsourcing, Brabham tells us, is an online, distributed problem solving and production model that leverages the collective intelligence of online communities for specific purposes set forth by a crowdsourcing organization—corporate, government, or volunteer. Uniquely, it combines a bottom-up, open, creative process with top-down organizational goals. Crowdsourcing is not open source production, which lacks the top-down component; it is not a market research survey that offers participants a short list of choices; and it is qualitatively different from predigital open innovation and collaborative production processes, which lacked the speed, reach, rich capability, and lowered barriers to entry enabled by the Internet.

Brabham describes the intellectual roots of the idea of crowdsourcing in such concepts as collective intelligence, the wisdom of crowds, and distributed computing. He surveys the major issues in crowdsourcing, including crowd motivation, the misconception of the amateur participant, crowdfunding, and the danger of “crowdsploitation” of volunteer labor, citing real-world examples from Threadless, InnoCentive, and other organizations. And he considers the future of crowdsourcing in both theory and practice, describing its possible roles in journalism, governance, national security, and science and health.

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