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Crowd-Sourcing as a Core Business Strategy

by February 11, 2011

A version of this post appeared on The Daily Crowdsource.

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but just about every core strategy of my business now involves crowdsourcing. Or, is it crowd-sourcing? Crowd sourcing? The reason I’m not firmly convinced how to spell something that’s in practically every e-mail and tweet I write is an indication that one, it’s a new concept, and two, it’s something exciting enough to jump into without all the answers.

Leveraging crowdsourcing isn’t our mission at Dialogue Earth, where we’re focused on increasing public understanding on environmental topics. But, it’s entrenched in our business strategy. We’re developing tools and processes to analyze social media dialogue, and to create and distribute relevant, engaging content to broad audiences. Who better to help us analyze and engage with these crowds than “the crowd”?

We read headlines that crowdsourcing is going to render defunct everything from office buildings, to interactive agencies, to traditional funding sources. While it sounds extreme, it may prove true. For the near term, however, we’re focused on combining the advantages of all the resources available to us.

In analyzing social media, we are developing a process to leverage the crowd to determine intent, detect sarcasm and provide context. To improve worker quality and efficiency, we’re developing applications to help us find and filter data sets, producing the most relevant tasks to then crowdsource.

In creating content, we are developing a process to crowd-source the production of science videos to creative storytellers, who will convey information in ways that can engage a broad spectrum of viewers without a call to action or other advocacy. Throughout the process, our team will “own” the key science points, on which the pieces are built, and we’ll be depending on a large network of experts from across society to ensure the accuracy of science facts.

And, as we look to grow a financially sustainable business, we’re examining ways we can crowd-fund the production of future science videos, creating greater community involvement and broadening our support base. Alongside this effort, we will continue to pursue our strategy to garner funding by aligning with foundations and corporate sponsors.

Undoubtedly, crowdsourcing is emerging as a vital component to achieving our mission. There’s a long road of trial and error ahead, but I’m way more excited than I am nervous. And, there’s solace in knowing that, if our approaches fail, there’s a crowd of experts to whom we can pose our challenge.

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