What’s New in Crowdsourcing?

This month we’ve seen how the crowd continues to contribute in the political arena and in further developing clean and safe cities. The trend of incorporating “citizen scientists” in the search for data and groundbreaking ideas is expanding from the glaciers all the way to Mars. This month we’re seeing a large number of medical studies calling for crowdsourced data, and finally we can learn from ZTE’s failure to crowdsource a smartphone.


Cities & Government

How Trump’s Opponents Are Crowdsourcing The Resistance

Wikis, Google Docs, and other collaboration tools are powering a mass political movement with one goal: to put Democrats back in power. There is a newly galvanized political opposition focused on resisting Trump’s agenda and reinstalling the Democrats to power. It’s a likeminded collective whose rapid organic growth mirrors that of a very different political force that emerged eight years ago. Since its launch in December, Indivisible Guide has spawned over 4,500 groups that lobby their local members of Congress, says Dohl, and over 600,000 people have searched the site for a group to join.

Crowdsourcing Solutions for Public Safety Communications

PSCR plans to leverage open innovation crowdsourcing activities over the next six years as  part of their Innovation Accelerator program. This means that any person, team, entrepreneur, inventor, or company can participate. Where do you fit in? There are five key areas the prize team will focus on: Location-Based Services (LBS), Land Mobile Radio (LMR) to Long Term Evolution (LTE), Mission Critical Voice over Broadband, Enhanced User Interfaces (UI), and Public Safety Analytics. PSCR will post every competition on http://bit.ly/PSprizes, a program-specific page on Challenge.gov.

crowdsourcing-news-calgary2016 Innovation Award Winner: City of Calgary

The City of Calgary recently won an Innovation Management Award for their work leveraging crowd power to create measurable change that helps both government organizations and the citizens that they serve. They started by asking their employees for ideas that would help them improve city services and in less than a year had gathered hundreds of new ideas that would help them meet their goals. This flattening of government organizations to allow for organic idea generation and refinement is definitely one of the key ways to maximize resources in government workplaces. In the coming year, the City of Calgary plans to open up this program to engage citizens as well.


Business & Technology

ZTE’s crowd-sourced smartphone ends in dismal failure

ZTE has admitted it made a rather catastrophic mistake in its bid to create a crowd-sourced smartphone. The company invited people to suggest specifications for the phone before seemingly ignoring all the ideas and launching a mid-range device. ZTE’s original concept with Project CSX attracted a flurry of attention when it was announced last year. The company asked customers to help it build its next phone, allowing users to suggest and vote on key hardware components and major features. The supporters would then pledge money on Kickstarter to make the handset a reality.

Unique crowd-sourcing campaign combines micro-financing and food

Shanghai Soup is quite a unique idea in China’s fundraising scene, combining micro-financing, networking and sustainable food, something that according to the founders has not yet been done in Shanghai. It also endeavors to bring together like-minded talent to consider participating in or donating to small projects which otherwise might have been overlooked. Attendees pay 50 yuan ($7.25) at the door to enjoy a bowl of soup while listening to four 4-minute presentations from speakers. Whichever idea gets the most votes from diners takes all the money collected at the door to help fund their project.

The brands crowdsourcing their bestsellers

Crowdsourcing technology is giving smaller brands an edge when it comes to producing what their customers really want. Last week yogawear brand Catalyst Activewear launched Open Studio, a Tinder-style platform that allows customers to vote on which styles, colours and patterns they prefer, before the new season collection goes into production. The 3D-visualisation platform also enables Catalyst to collect feedback on a large scale. SoundOut originated in the music industry, predicting chart hits from its opinion crowdsourcing site, Slicethepie. The company now works with retailers, using machine learning to predict the appeal and price expectation for existing and hypothetical products.

crowdsourcing-news-jcrewJ. Crew Turns to Instagram Stories for Crowd-Sourcing

For 24 hours starting on Friday, J.Crew used Instagram Stories — which is content that disappears after 24 hours — to garner feedback from customers on next year’s color for its $365 Chateau Parka. This is the first time the brand has used Instagram to crowd-source through voting for a future collection, but in the past, J.Crew has used Instagram Stories for presales, meaning items appeared on Instagram before they become available on its web site and followers could click a link on the brand’s page to purchase.

‘Apocalypse Now’ Crowdsourcing To Fund Game Development Starts

An “Apocalypse Now video game” project has just been announced. The video game will be based on the 1980′s “Apocalypse Now” Francis Ford Coppola movie. A crowdsourcing project has been started for the video game. A kickstarter project aimed to raise $900,000 to fund the “Apocalypse Now” video game is currently live. According to reports, Coppola decided to crowdsource “Apocalypse Now” because video game companies denied funding for the project. The “Apocalypse Now” kickstarter ask fans of the Vietnam War movie to fund the development of the video game.


Health & Science

crowdsourcing-news-gravity-waveResearchers turn to “citizen scientists” for help identifying gravitational waves

For almost a decade, Dr. Littenberg has been searching for the gravitational wave signals of black holes on behalf of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). And late last year, when those signals were discovered, he was an integral member of a team that developed the sophisticated computer algorithms needed to comb through the data. Their findings were later published in over a dozen articles in six different journals, including Physical Review and The Astrophysical Journal.

Crowd Sourcing Algorithms for Mission to Mars

Students are competing in the Second Annual NASA Swarmathon, a nationwide competition in which NASA selects about 20 teams to create algorithms (instructions for the computer in a robot) for a group of wheeled robots to collect samples on Mars. The team also builds the robots used to test their algorithms and sends them back to NASA. In April, CSUCI’s Mars Swarmathon team will travel to the NASA Kennedy Space Center where a winner will be named out of all the competing university teams.

Want to Be a Space Archaeologist? Here’s Your Chance

Sarah Parcak is a space archaeologist, which means she spends her days looking for buried archaeological sites in high resolution imagery. Parcak is launching GlobalXplorer, an online platform that will teach anyone with a computer and an internet connection how to spot archaeological sites in satellite imagery. Parcak explains that the most time-consuming part of her job was scouring thousands of square miles of satellite imagery for visual anomalies on Earth’s surface. Crowdsourcing that process, she hopes, will allow professional archaeologists to speed up the discovery process.

crowdsourcing-news-gamingCrowdsourcing Medical Data Through Gaming

Video games have changed the way we play, but they also have the potential to change the way we research and solve problems, in fields such as health care and education. One game that’s made waves in medical research is Sea Hero Quest. This smartphone game has created a groundbreaking approach to data collection, leading to an earlier diagnosis of dementia. So far, 2.5 million people have played the game, providing scientists with years’ worth of data across borders and demographics.

New Hope for Autoimmune Disease Treatment

Nearly 50 million Americans live with one or more of 80 recognized autoimmune disorders, conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells or tissues. Though widespread, the search for treatments for these conditions can be convoluted and frustrating. Autoimmune Citizen Science founder Vivek Mandan experienced this frustration first-hand as he struggled to deal with his own autoimmune disorder. “I knew there had to be a tool that could help me understand my health and unified resources for combatting autoimmunity. In fact, there wasn’t, so I decided to make one.” So he created Autoimmune Citizen Science (AICS, an app through which patients can track their symptoms, treatments, lab tests, and more).

Global ‘Crowdsourcing’ Project to Fight Childhood Cancers

Researchers at three Connecticut health organizations announced Tuesday a project enlisting a worldwide web of volunteers who lend their computers to help find cures for childhood cancer. Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, The Jackson Laboratory and University of Connecticut School of Medicine are working with an IBM “global crowdsourcing” project to find the right drug compound that could affect key molecules and proteins to control cancer cells in several common childhood cancers.

crowdsourcing-news-time-habitat-preservationCrowdsourcing nature reserves

The Israeli-founded organization called Time, has crowdsourced funds to purchase the first area of land to become a nature reserve. The goal is to preserve biodiversity and save endangered species around the world. But this first plot, 80 hectares in size, contains over 300 species of animals, many on the brink of extinction. “Within less than a year, we’ve managed to show that it’s possible to save species and protect the earth through crowdsourcing, thanks to lots of caring people,” says Time founder Prof. Uri Shanas from the University of Haifa.

crowdsourcing-news-glaciersCrowd-Sourced Images of Glacier Retreat

Imagine if we had a crowd-sourced digital record of the damage climate change is causing to our planet. That’s the mission of Project Pressure, an UK-based organization dedicated to documenting and publicizing the world’s vanishing glaciers. With MELT, an open source digital atlas, Project Pressure hopes to give the public a new tool to visually tour the world’s receding glaciers, helping us all to better understand the ongoing impact of rising global temperatures.


Finance and Society

SFIA Will Continue To Crowd Source Innovation With Second Annual Start-Up Challenge

With the proliferation of technology, rising knowledge and demands of consumers and increasing levels of competitions across various industries it only makes sense for industry leaders to overturn every stone in seeking innovative ideas. Often times that means turning the reigns over to the people. The sports industry is no different, which is why the Sports & Fitness Industry Association has announced it will host a Start-Up Challenge at its annual Industry Leaders Summit for the second straight year. The first version of the competition, won by the sponsorship tracking platform Hookit, was a huge success, according to SFIA president and CEO Tom Cove.

HeroX Crowdsourcing Fact Check Challenge Finds Shortfalls in Technology to Combat Fake News

Award-winning investigative journalist Diane Francis, and leading crowdsourcing technology provider HeroX, today announced the results of the “Fast and Furious Fact Check Challenge” — an incentive prize competition seeking an automated approach to accurately fact check claims in a fraction of the time a human could. Competing for up to $50,000 in cash prizes, Fast and Furious Fact Check Challenge contestants were tasked with determining whether a set of fifty pre-determined claims, developed by Independent fact checking charity Full Fact, were true or “fake news.”

Crowdsourcing for Shakespeare

Baker’s prescription is on one of thousands of pages of handwritten documents from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England that volunteers around the globe have transcribed as part of an initiative called Shakespeare’s World. Launched on Zooniverse, a research-crowdsourcing platform, in 2015, it is an effort to better understand everyday life and language around the time of William Shakespeare. Multiple people transcribe each line independently, and an algorithm originally designed to identify similar DNA or protein sequences compares the strings of letters to determine a likely best answer. If most users agree on most of the text, the line is considered done; otherwise, the program keeps gathering data from more people until a consensus is reached or “we cry mercy,” Lintott said.

This Chennai-based startup has helped over 7 lakh poor across India through crowdsourcing

GiveAway started its journey by collecting extra and leftover food from households, wedding receptions, restaurants and parties from all over Chennai. The group personally went to these places and collected the food and ensured that it was packed in a safe and hygienic manner before it was delivered to the beneficiaries. The group started taking requests over WhatsApp and in just over five months, GiveAway began to evolve and started to cater to around five lakh people in Chennai alone. As a result, GiveAway soon started to feed at least 1,000 homeless people every day.