The modern business term ‘crowdsourcing’, coined in 2005, is described as the process of accessing required services, ideas or content by canvassing contributions from a large circle of people, and particularly from an online community as opposed to traditional employees or suppliers. In the same way, in the technological world, crowdsourced testing services are an increasingly popular way of identifying and resolving problems fast and finding workarounds, all with minimal disruption or downtime.
Many businesses and organizations apply to crowdsourcing as a means of obtaining information. In many countries, the need to include more voices and public participation has driven a demand for governments to branch out and leverage citizen knowledge and energy through crowdsourcing, creating a form of e-government. In a similar way, some people have advocated crowdsourcing within governments themselves to take better advantage of the existing talent base.
In the US, CoCreate is a crowdsourced effort to identify and solve challenges in the US army. The country’s State Department has also made the Human Rights and Democracy Report accessible online and available for mark-up by the general public, academics, policy-makers and NGOs alike. The Smithsonian, the New York Public Library, the University of Iowa and Ancestry all use similar approaches to solicit public opinion.
Such systems also exist in the UK – namely the National Health Service’s Patient Feedback Challenge, which involves encouraging the NHS to use feedback from patients to improve services. Ideas and approaches already out there are crowdsourced and then bid on by organizations within the NHS.
While technological advances have facilitated crowdsourcing online amongst other sectors and organizations, crowdsourcing can arguably be used to resolve technological problems themselves.
It has recently been reported that the UK technology sector is set to grow at four times the rate of GDP this year, with growth for 2016 even better. This represents considerable growth in users, expertise, and experience. And crowdsourced testing services through Bug Finders leverages such knowledge amongst the technical community to drive out bugs fast.
Investors are seeing this country as “an international talent magnet” and a healthy platform upon which to grow or launch their business for a whole variety of reasons, from the culture, access to finance and light-touch regulation to supportive government policies.