Crowdsource Your Way Out of the Recession

It is all too easy to let the news of a double-dip recession to get to you, particularly if you are a woman attempting to get back into work after a maternity career break. Yet we live in the age of opportunity fuelled by demand for information and on-line services. In this climate, web and mobile technology combined with crowdsourcing offer would-be-entrepreneurs great start up channels. The challenge is to spot and seize the right opportunity.

Crowdsourcing is the concept of using the brain power and skills of the crowd to get specific tasks completed via web channels. It has taken firm roots in business with many large companies turning to it for innovation and insight. Among them is SAP which was one of the early adopters of co-innovation. It worked with Innocentive, the crowdsourcing broker web site, to have some specific design and technology requirements addressed. Another company is Starbucks that runs My Starbucks Idea to crowdsource innovation for new products and customer experiences. Others, such as TripAdvisor, rely on the public to rank hotels and restaurants around the world. Another is Ether Books which was set up by novelist Sophia Bartleet. The Ether Books’ iPhone app allows users to download short stories to read while travelling. The crowdsourcing element comes from authors submitting stories for publication on-line. Published Ether Books authors include the Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel, Sir Paul McCartney, and, my very own daughter, Jo Burnett.

Even governments have started to tap into crowdsourcing; in 2010 the UK government ran a campaign to get feedback from members of the public on public issues.

In all these cases, content is king; content for entertainment and leisure, content in the form of information for business competitiveness and optimisation, and content for forming government policy upon.

With the expanding world of the web and the rise of mobile commerce, you just have to spot the right opportunity for you.

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