The Power Of Crowdsourcing
HWM Singapore|August 2020
As we go through the fourth industrial revolution that digitizes everything we do, economic and societal fundamentals are changing in ways we have not experienced before.
Marten Mickos

Although we measure everything more accurately than ever before, we are increasingly confused as to what we can trust and whatnot. We harness artificial intelligence to drive operational processes, which triggers the vital need for humans to define the intent and ethics of those automated systems. Headcount in a company can be an asset, a liability, and a bottleneck all at the same time.

Although technological advances reduce the need for humans to perform labour, the demand for humans to work together to solve vital issues is only growing. In a way, the delegation of laborious tasks to robots and AI means that humans must collaborate, coordinate, and perform highly specialised tasks more than ever. Every organization will have temporary needs for specialised human abilities, but no organisation will be able to permanently employ all of them. The solution to this challenge is crowdsourcing.

In the typical outsourcing model, companies farm out work to suppliers, system integrators and consultants. This worked well when the rate of change in society was moderate. For the companies who enlisted their help, the same consultants or project staff could be useful and productive for a long time. But as the rate of change in society has accelerated, an even more dynamic model is needed.

Crowdsourcing demonstrated its power in the open-source software revolution of the past three decades, resulting in numerous technologies and products that outperform the alternatives. Linux is a prime example, but there are hundreds of others. The idea is simple: Create an ecosystem with clear rules for how any participant can collaborate with any other participants to produce a common good, irrespective of whether the contributors know each other, and irrespective of whether they agree on every detail.

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