What’s New in Crowdsourcing?

August 16, 2016: Are you a crowdsourcing enthusiast? If so, you probably find it hard to keep up with the latest news because the crowd is literally contributing to positive change all over the world. For this reason IM.se is launching a new blog to give you a rundown of recent stories and help you find the best platforms to contribute your own ideas.

Cities & Government

crowdsourcing-news-smart-citiesThe future of smart cities lies with crowdsourcing

iotworldnews.com “Some of the more exciting and disruptive stuff that’s happening in smart city development has come from crowdsourced ideas,” comments Hatton. “There’s this misconception that every idea has to come from the top down, but at the moment I’d say it’s the bottom-up projects that are the ones to watch.” He’s talking about the likes of Waze, AppyParking, JustPark (to mention transportation apps alone) and tons of other innovative apps and schemes that promise to make the day-to-day urban experience more convenient and less stressful.

Israeli transit app Moovit expands crowdsourcing to give users more info for their commute

geektime.com—The Israel-based transportation app Moovit, which aggregates public transit data for and from its users, helping them to plan the fastest routes to get where they are going, works with commuters to overcome these customer service gaps. The latest update to it, for Android as version 4.13, will allow users to make “edits to many attributes of a station.” .. Some city governments are also aware of the potential for this kind of relationship, interested in putting that data to use, with Rio de Janerio reaching deals with Strava, Google’s Waze, and Moovit to access user data – and in turn, city governments like Rio’s provide Moovit with GPS updates on their transit vehicles.

Drop Pins on This Map to Help Make Bangkok Great Again

khaosodenglish.com/news —Broken manhole cover traps, fallen wires, phoneless phone booths, missing bus maps and smelly bins. Walking in Bangkok can be a challenging and unpleasant experience. Rather than place hope in the powers that be to fix everything and make the city walkable – an outcome that could be worse – a group of urban advocates got together to brainstorm a new platform to crowdsource the problem and invite everyone to help make the city better. First is collecting the data, for which the group of gadflies created “YouPin,” an app anyone can use to build out the crowdsourced map of street problems via a web app or bilingual chatbot.

Beggars and Netizens: Crowdsourcing policy-making in Armenia

opengovpartnership.org —In Armenia, mobile technologies have been rapidly evolving throughout the last decade. Internet penetration has grown from 29% to 75% over the last five years. As many as 960000 Armenian users (1/3 of the population) are registered on Facebook’s social network. The rise of social media creates new opportunities for online “beggar promenades” and immediate feedback from netizens, the active online population of the country. Internet has become the new Agora of our days, creating a liberal meeting-place for all. How does this new situation change the dialogue between government and citizens? With the launch of the OGP initiative in Armenia, citizen-centric design has become more institutionalized. Armenia joined the initiative back in 2011. Since that time, more than 27 national commitments have been implemented towards transparency, participation and accountability. We’ve registered prominent success, reflected in national  and international awards.

This Clever Bicycle Bell Crowdsources Information About Roads and Traffic to Keep Cyclists Safe

pastemagazine.com —Shoka Bell is a new gadget that hopes to make the roads safer for the average cyclist. Developed by a team passionate about road safety, Shoka Bell brings the humble cycling bell into the 21st century. It combines a navigation system, with a front light, security alarm and bell, all in a simple device that can be easily mounted onto your handlebars. Via Bluetooth, it’ll guide you to your destination, while also picking the safest route. Shoka Bell is currently available via a recently launched Kickstarter campaign. The team opted to pursue the Kickstarter route over more conventional funding sources, so that they can enjoy early stage feedback from an engaged and similarly passionate audience. The device currently works in conjunction with iPhones, with an Android version of the app to be launched once shipping commences. Windows Phone users will also get to enjoy its capabilities by February 2017.



ZTE USA crowdsourcing their next mobile device with Project CSX

androidcommunity.com —Have you ever had a bright idea that you really think could be the next big thing but you didn’t know who to talk to to make it happen or whether any company will actually buy it? Well if it’s a smartphone that you’ve been thinking about, then now is your chance to make yourself be heard. ZTE USA has launched Project CSX with the intention of crowdsourcing the next mobile device that they will be releasing next year. They’re probably the first company that will be able to say that everything, starting with the concept and up until the release will actually be coming from their consumers. The platform they will be using is the Z-Community, a member led forum started by ZTE. They want this to be just the first in what should be a new method to create products that will appeal to the market, especially since it is the market itself that will have conceptualized the device. “It’s a bold approach for the industry that demonstrates how ZTE keeps consumers at the heart of everything we imagine, design and deliver,” said ZTE USA CEO Lixin Cheng.

Siemens Joins JUMP Community to Crowdsource Innovation in Building Technologies

businesswire.com/news —Siemens today announced an open-technology challenge with JUMP, a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Energy and five national laboratories. The online crowdsourcing community focuses on bridging the gap between cutting-edge building technology ideas and the marketplace. The JUMP challenge involves defining the concept, use cases, and business models that could support the use of personal smart devices to interact with public spaces. While there has been explosive progress of interconnectivity and advanced applications controlled through personal devices in homes, automation, control and ease of use for building occupants does not exist at the same level for commercial, public, or corporate spaces. Siemens seeks to engage the public in gathering ideas to tackle this challenge.


Health & Nature

How crowdsourcing helps to evaluate the healthiness of chain restaurant meals

blog.journals.cambridge.org —We sought to make this process more efficient by using: a curated database of chain restaurant foods in the United States; an established algorithm that incorporated FNV amounts; crowdsourcing to sort foods with low and high FNV amounts; and a dietitian to sort through a smaller number of complex foods. … If we were to rely on dietitians to fully evaluate every item, at five minutes per item, it would take one dietitian over 40 weeks of full time work, costing more than US$60,000. While there were some technology costs in setting up our system, the incremental cost for the analysis of a year of restaurant data was less than US$2000. We hope that our method encourages other nutrition scientists to partner with computer scientists. Computer science methods, including crowdsourcing, can vastly reduce the cost to analyze food items on chain restaurant menus. We were able to process a year’s worth of items in less than a week of working time.”

Environmental Resources Management Looks to Employees for Sustainability Solutions

ideascale.com —ERM is a leading global provider of environmental, healthy, safety, risk, social consulting services and sustainability related services. The team their launched their first-ever crowdsourcing challenge to their employee base at more than 160 offices around the globe and gathered hundreds of new ideas that would provide sustainability and process solutions for ERM’s customer base. Read the full story of their innovation crowdsourcing challenge.

23andMe Pulls Off Massive Crowdsourced Depression Study

htechnologyreview.com —A scientific expedition into the DNA of more than 450,000 customers of gene-testing company 23andMe has uncovered the first major trove of genetic clues to the cause of depression. The study, the largest of its kind, detected 15 regions of human genome linked to a higher risk of struggling with serious depression. The study was carried out by drug giant Pfizer as part of an alliance with 23andMe, the California company whose gene reports have been purchased by more than 1.2 million people. … This gene-hunting tactic has led to important insights into diabetes, schizophrenia, and other common diseases. But depression has remained mostly untouched, until now.

Launch of Crowdsourced Dengue Fever Tracker

prnewswire.com —Dengue Track is a novel approach to disease mapping which could also be used to tracking Zika virus or Malaria. Through a userfriendly online chat system, the tool will build a crowdsourced map of dengue outbreak. Users – known as Dengue Trackers – can access free toolkits to help them reduce their risk of dengue fever while providing details of outbreaks. Dengue fever is a potentially fatal disease that infects 390 million people per year at an annual global cost of US$8.89 billion. The World Health Organisation estimates that about 40% of the global population lives in highrisk areas. Improved disease surveillance is essential to tackling dengue, according to the WHO Global Strategy for Dengue Prevention and Control 20122020, but gathering accurate data from traditional sources has been challenging. Dengue Track is helping to fill this gap.

Scientists are searching for Antarctic seals using satellite imagery—and you can help

qz.com —Last night, I went hunting for seals in Antarctica. Well, actually I was sitting in my apartment in New York City, and the seals were digital, but still—it was real science. Researchers are asking for the public’s help counting Weddell seals in satellite images of Antarctica to get a better sense of how the fishing industry is affecting the Ross Sea ecosystem. LaRue and her team of researchers turned to crowdsourcing platform Tomnod (which means “big eye” in Mongolian), to help scour 300 miles of the Antarctic coastline. Typically a project like this would take years—”If I wanted to do it myself, it would take forever,” said LaRue—but with the help of at-home volunteers, the research team expects to get sense of the seal population in a fraction of that time.


Finance & Society

The Code-Based Fund: The Future of Crowdsourced Startup Funding

lexology.com —For your startup business, crowdfunding campaigns can be a great way to both raise funds and validate your product market. Bridging the gap between crowdfunding and venture financing, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization, or the DAO, has emerged as a potential new source of funding for projects and startups. The human-less organization has raised over $165 million worth of Ether, a cryptocurrency, and plans to make venture capital-style investments. So what exactly is the DAO and how does it work? The DAO is an organization managed on the Ethereum blockchain via smart contracts. Its bylaws are written entirely in code, and it is managed by its investorsno separate management team is involved. Individuals who invest in the DAO receive tokens in exchange for their investments, and these tokens are then used to vote on governance issues. As a result, token-holders dictate the DAO’s actions through an online polling mechanism.

How social networks can boost smallholder agriculture

devex.com —Just as information disseminated through social networks has made it easier to decide which flat to rent or movie to watch, rural agriculture stands to gain from a culture of crowdsourcing. Consumer goods giant Unilever is one of the largest and latest to do so through a mobile agriculture program that it is piloting with U.K. telecommunications firm Vodafone. The initiative equips smallholder tea farmers in Tanzania and coconut planters in Indonesia with feature phones to receive targeted SMS updates on weather, crop quality and agricultural trainings. The program is also rolling out a mobile money feature so farmers can digitally receive payments for their crops.